28 April 2004
Four Berkeley faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has announced the election of new members, among them four UC Berkeley professors. The newly elected scientists bring the total number of NAS members on the Berkeley faculty to 132.
The new electees are A. Paul Alivisatos, Chancellor’s Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science in the College of Chemistry and director of the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Raymond Jeanloz, professor of earth and planetary science and of astronomy in the College of Letters & Science; George Oster, professor of cell and developmental biology and of environmental science, policy and management in the College of Natural Resources; and Peter Quail, professor of plant biology in the College of Natural Resources and research director of the Plant Gene Expression Center, a joint collaboration between Berkeley and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The four were among 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 13 countries announced at the 141st annual meeting of the academy. Election to membership in NAS is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer, recognizing distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Those elected this year bring the total number of active members to 1,949. Foreign associates are non-voting members of the academy, with citizenship outside the United States; this year’s election brings the total number of foreign associates to 351.
A total of 15 of the new NAS members are affiliated with the University of California, including four from UC San Francisco. The San Diego and Davis campuses are home to two new members each, while the Los Angeles, Irvine, and Santa Barbara campuses each had one faculty member elected to the NAS.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation, signed by Abraham Lincoln, which calls on the academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.
A full list of new NAS members can be found online at national-academies.org/nas.
Carlos Bustamante, professor of molecular and cell biology, physics, and chemistry, was one of 16 individuals honored at the National Academy of Science’s annual awards ceremony, held in Washington, D.C., on April 19.
Bustamante received the Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics — a prize of $20,000 awarded every three years. The NAS cited Bustamante “for his ingenious use of atomic force microscopy and laser tweezers to study the biophysical properties of proteins, DNA, and RNA, one molecule at a time.”
Filmmaker Jon Else received a lifetime achievement award at the San Francisco International Film Festival on April 25. Else accepted the prestigious Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award at a screening of his 1979 documentary, The Day After Trinity: J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb.
A professor in the Graduate School of Journalism, Else began his directing career with his 1975 film, Arthur and Lillie. He is widely known, as a director, for such films as Yosemite: The Fate of Heaven, Cadillac Desert, and Sing Faster: The Stagehands’ Ring Cycle. As cinematographer, he has worked on hundreds of documentaries, including Eyes On The Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years (on which he was also series producer), The BBC/PBS series History of Rock and Roll, Who Are the DeBolts? And Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids? (Academy Award 1976), and the new feature documentary, Tupac: Resurrection.
The winner of numerous awards including a MacArthur Fellowship and four national Emmys, Else has just returned from doing camera work on a documentary about Afghanistan’s constitutional Loya Jirga, and is beginning a new film about nuclear weapons.
Robert Ritchie, professor of materials science and engineering and head of the materials science division at Lawrence Berkeley Lab, has been named as a fellow by the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers. The award, which is restricted to 100 living members, was presented in Charlotte, N.C., in March “for outstanding contributions to the understanding of mechanisms of fatigue and fracture of materials.”