6 campus affiliates elected as American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows

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In recognition of their achievements as leaders in science and education, three faculty members and three campus-affiliated lab researchers were honored Monday as 2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, Fellows.

Environmental law professor Holly Doremus, professor emerita of physics Mary K. Gaillard and plant and microbial biology department chair and professor Krishna Niyogi were nominated by their colleagues to receive this honor, along with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers Eleanor Blakely, Howard Matis and David K. Shuh.

“It’s certainly more important than ever before to hold up examples of outstanding contributions to science and technology,” said AAAS spokesperson Ginger Pinholster. “It’s good to celebrate people who are doing good work, making the world a better place and improving our quality of life.”

Pinholster said all 391 of the 2016 AAAS Fellows will receive a plaque and fellowship rosette pin in February 2017 during America’s largest annual general science conference in Boston.

Doremus was surprised yet flattered by her election. She was recognized for her contributions to environmental law and natural resources law.

“One of my long-standing interests is the role that science plays in policy and how policymakers can make effective use of scientific information … while still keeping in mind the value choices they have to make,” Doremus said.

Gaillard, a Berkeley Lab senior scientist, was acknowledged for her work on gauge theories involving the standard model, which is a model that explains how the interaction of the basic building blocks of matter are controlled by four fundamental forces.

Additionally, she was lauded for inspiring women physicists through efforts such as chairing the American Physical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women in Physics. Gaillard also published a book last year about her experiences as a woman physicist.

Niyogi, also a faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab, was acknowledged for his investigations into photosynthesis regulation, in particular with changes to light intensity. He was also noted for studying photoprotective mechanisms — last Friday, he and collaborators published a paper where they found a 20 percent increased productivity in plants after they modified its photoprotective mechanism.

Blakely could not be reached for comment as of press time.

According to Pinholster, Blakely was recognized for her work in biophysics, studying the biological impact of radiation common to cancer treatments and space travel.

Matis was honored for spearheading education outreach as a member of the American Physical Society and president of the Contemporary Physics Education Project, or CPEP.

“The mission of a scientist is to tell the whole world what we’ve done, and not just our colleagues,” Matis said.

Also distinguished for building a cosmic ray detector kit for schools, Matis said people are using the kits internationally in all seven continents, including the South Pole.

Shuh was celebrated for his employment of x-rays to look at actinide, or radioactive, materials. He said his team tries to determine the electronic structure of these materials by using complex measurements in hopes of understanding and controlling their chemistry.

“There’s a responsibility that comes with (being a Fellow),” Shuh said. “You’re a member of a scientific community — you have to make sure science is put forth on all the agendas and recognize other scientists.”

Contact Fionce Siow at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @fioncesiow.