American Academy of Arts and Sciences announces election of 6 UC Berkeley professors, Napolitano

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Last week, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the election of six UC Berkeley professors and UC President Janet Napolitano.

The campus professors elected to the academy include three from the campus College of Chemistry: Carlos Bustamante, John Hartwig and Enrique Iglesia. The academy also elected three faculty members from other campus departments: astronomy professor Alex Filippenko, physics professor John Clarke and philosophy professor John MacFarlane.

A large majority of the 197 new members announced this month were American fellows elected by U.S. citizens and residents. Other elected members this year included 16 foreign honorary members, NPR host Terry Gross, singer Judy Collins and astronomer Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

“I’m absolutely delighted and honored to have been elected,” said Filippenko, who has been a professor at UC Berkeley for 28 years. “My astrophysical research itself was incredibly fun and rewarding to conduct, but it’s wonderful to be officially recognized in this manner as well.”

Napolitano was also nominated for her contributions to educational, scientific, cultural and philanthropic administration.

“The honor of election is also a call to service,” said academy President Jonathan Fanton in a press release. “The Academy provides its members with opportunities to discover common interests and find common ground. We invite every new member to participate in our important and rewarding work.”

The academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams and James Bowdoin to promote the advancement of knowledge and practical ideas, but the organization also addresses social and intellectual issues of concern.

Members of the academy are selected for their contributions to endeavors in the sciences as well as in the arts and humanities. Past members have included Alexander Graham Bell, Benjamin Franklin and T.S. Eliot.

“It is always special when our peers choose us. It is singularly so when these recognitions come from an institution with the breadth of interests of the Academy,” Iglesia said in an email.

Hartwig said in an email that it was unusual for him to be recognized by a group that honors contributions pertaining to the humanities as well as chemistry. He described the election as a “pleasant surprise.”

“It is a great honor to share election with such distinguished academics in both science and humanities, along with artists, composers, and authors whose paintings, music, and books we all love to see, hear and read,” Hartwig said in an email.

The nominees will be officially inducted into the academy in a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in October. Once members have officially joined, they will have the opportunity to work on projects, publications and events with other members of the academy, according to a press release.

Contact Lenin Silva at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @LeninSilvaNunez.