David Gale, professor emeritus of mathematics, writes:
An Oct. 15 article on Berkeley faculty who are members of the National Academy of Science states, "Members are chosen on the basis of their contributions to the use of science for the general welfare."
Unfortunately this is not correct. There is nothing in the election process which makes contributions to the general welfare part of the criterion for election.
The NAS is a self perpetuating organization in which each year the active members, (at present there are 1,765), choose 90 new members. The criteria for selection are up to the individual voter.
It is true that from time to time the academy awards the Public Welfare Medal, which is given "in recognition of distinguished contributions in the application of science to the public welfare."
Medalists are listed in the NAS membership directory, and this may have been the source of the misunderstanding. (There are currently 14 holders of this medal. Among recent medalists are C. Everett Coop and Carl Sagan.).
Since so much importance seems to be attached to NAS membership, I think your readers should be aware of the true situation.
Staff Ombudsperson Ella Wheaton is the CSAC outstanding staff award winner shown with Chancellor Berdahl in the page 1 photo of Oct. 22 Berkeleyan.