UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Five faculty elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

– Five University of California, Berkeley, faculty members are among 212 scholars, scientists, artists, civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders elected today (Monday, April 28) to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy research centers.

The new members are Ruzena Bajcsy, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences; John Kuriyan, Chancellor's Professor in the departments of molecular and cell biology and of chemistry and an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) at UC Berkeley; James L. Powell, professor of economics; Jasper Rine, professor of molecular and cell biology, director of UC Berkeley's Center for Computational Biology and an HHMI professor; and Yuri Slezkine, professor of history.

The total number of academy members on the UC Berkeley faculty is now 227.

"The Academy honors excellence by electing to membership remarkable men and women who have made preeminent contributions to their fields, and to the world," academy president Emilio Bizzi said in a prepared statement. "We are pleased to welcome into the academy these new members to help advance our founders' goal of 'cherishing knowledge and shaping the future.'"

The new members come from 20 states and 15 countries, and range in age from 37 to 86. Represented among this year's newly elected members are more than 50 universities and more than a dozen corporations, as well as museums, national laboratories and private research institutes, media outlets and foundations. The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 11 at academy headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

Among this year's new fellows are U.S. Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice John Paul Stevens; soprano Dawn Upshaw; two recent American Nobel Prize winners, Linda Buck and Craig Mello; three computer company founders; former cabinet secretary and White House chief of staff James A. Baker III; Academy Award-winning filmmakers Ethan and Joel Coen and Milos Forman; Darwin biographer Janet Browne; Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Edwards P. Jones; and blues guitarist B. B. King.

Founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots, the academy has elected as members the finest minds and most influential leaders from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th. The current membership includes some 200 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

The academy also undertakes studies of complex and emerging problems, exemplified by current studies focusing on science, technology and global security; social policy and American institutions; the humanities and culture; and education.