3 UC Berkeley professors elected to National Academy of Engineering

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The National Academy of Engineering elected three UC Berkeley professors to be inducted into the academy in 2017.

The professors — Gerbrand Ceder, Tsu-Jae King Liu and Katherine Yelick — were nominated by members of the NAE for their contributions to their respective fields of engineering through research, teaching and innovation. NAE spokesperson Randy Atkins called the position an “honorific title” and characterized the nomination process as holistic and complicated, but ultimately based on previous accomplishments and exemplary work within the professors’ fields.

Ceder, a professor in the campus materials science and engineering department, pioneered the Computational and Experimental Design of Emerging materials Research, or CEDER group, which works to ensure that the materials available to engineers do not inhibit application of emerging technologies. Ceder is committed to designing more functional materials using computational and experimental approaches.

Campus electrical engineering and computer science professor Liu works on nanoelectronics and technological developments for integrated circuits. Liu has contributed to 500 publications and nearly 100 patents, but she said the most rewarding part of her career has been seeing her own students advance into postdoctoral programs or seeing their tech ideas become products.

“It’s a form of service that professors perform, to serve our university, society and profession,” Liu said of her election to the NAE.

Yelick, also a campus EECS professor, concentrates on programming languages and algorithms. With the help of her students and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, she co-invented two languages, Unified Parallel C and Titanium. Additionally, Yelick has participated in interdepartmental research in the studies of chemistry and biology.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, as part of the larger National Academies of Science created by former president Abraham Lincoln in the 1800s. These agencies are tasked with advising the White House, Congress and other government agencies, by writing reports and guiding policy decisions, according to Atkins.

The NAE currently has more than 2,500 members — 2,281 from the U.S. and 249 from other countries. The selection process includes a nomination from a current member of the NAE, a series of references and a peer committee review. NAE’s mission for inclusivity and representation of minority groups guides the search for new members, according to Atkins.

Atkins said the academy also creates incentives to help advance engineering both domestically and abroad. This includes programs related to diversity, engineering education, innovation and awards. The NAE’s most prestigious award is the Draper Prize, which Atkins equated to the Nobel Prize.

“It’s more about recognition,” said Ceder of receiving the accolade. “We all have our vision.”

The UC Berkeley professors, alongside the other members elected to the Academy this year, will be formally inducted Oct. 8 in a ceremony in Washington D.C.

Staff writer Audrey McNamara contributed to this report.

Contact Ani Vahradyan at [email protected].