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Astronomers Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 11:57

Some of the world’s most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among the 2014 class of inductees are two AAS members:

  • Neta Assaf Bahcall, Eugene Higgins Professor of Astrophysics, Princeton University
  • Fiona Anne Harrison, Benjamin M. Rosen Professor of Physics and Astronomy, California Institute of Technology

Dr. Bahcall is renowned for her studies of structure formation in the universe. She is a former AAS Vice President and established the AAS John N. Bahcall Public Policy Fellowship in memory of her late husband, a former AAS President. Dr. Harrison is principal investigator for NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), currently in orbit capturing images of the cosmos in high-energy X-rays.

Former AAS member Wayne Hu, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, was also elected to the Academy, as was nonmember Inez Fung, Professor of Atmospheric Science in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the Academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts, and education.

“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” said Don Randel, Chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the Academy a unique capacity — and responsibility — to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on 11 October 2014 at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Margaret Meade and Martin Luther King Jr. in the 20th. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

— Adapted from a press release issued 23 April 2014 by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Richard Tresch Fienberg
Press Officer
American Astronomical Society (AAS)