Keith Stewart Thomson has been elected president of the Academy of Natural Sciences, a 4,000-member society founded in 1812 that sponsors research and educational programs and operates a Natural History Museum in Philadelphia. Thomson, who served as dean of Yale University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 1979 to 1986, will join the Academy's staff as president this spring. Thompson has been with Yale since 1970 and has been a professor of biology, a curator of vertebrate zoology and director of Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History.
Frederick de Serres is the new director of Research Triangle Institute's Center for Life Sciences and Toxicology, one of 31 centers at RTI's North Carolina headquarters. Before joining RTI in December, de Serres was with the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., for 14 years—first as chief of the Environmental Mutagenesis Branch and then as associate director for genetics for the past 10 years. Since 1973, de Serres has also served as an adjunct professor of pathology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Yuri F. Orlov last week joined the staff of Cornell University Laboratory of Nuclear Studies with a three-year appointment as a senior scientist. The Soviet physicist, who emigrated to the United States last fall, has said he intends to divide his time between research and defending other Soviet dissident scientists.
Wendy L. Freedman, an astronomer who specializes in the study of Cepheid stars, has been appointed to the staff of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Mount Wilson and Las Campanas Observatories in Pasadena, Calif., where she is currently a postdoctoral fellow. Freedman is a native of Canada and received both her undergraduate degree and her doctorate in astronomy from the University of Toronto. Also joining Carnegie's staff will be geochemist Julie D. Morris, currently a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. Morris will continue her study of the isotopic signatures of volcanic rocks at the DTM laboratory in Washington, D.C. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her Ph.D. in geochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Robert K. Merton, University Professor Emeritus at Columbia University, was presented the Sarton Medal of the University of Ghent and was designated the first occupant of the University's George Sarton Chair in the History of Science, which does not require continued residence there. Merton studied under Sarton at Harvard University in the 1930s.
Ernest Courant, senior physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratories, has been selected by the American Physical Society to receive the 1987 Robert R. Wilson Prize, recognizing outstanding achievements in the physics of particle accelerators. Courant is being honored for his role in recognizing the principle of Alternating Gradient Focusing, a discovery he made at BNL in 1952 along with Stanley Livingston and Hartland Snyder. The $5,000 Wilson Prize will be presented to Courant at the APS meeting in April.
Theodor 0. Diener has been named recipient of the 1987 Wolf Foundation prize in agriculture. Diener, a plant pathologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is being honored for his 1979 discovery of viroids, the RNA fragments now known to produce crop disease. Diener will receive the $100,000 prize of the Israel-based International Wolf Foundation at a ceremony in Jerusalem in May.
Charlotte Friend, 65, an immunologist who in 1956 discovered the leukemia-causing virus named in her honor, died January 13 in New York. The Friend virus, which causes leukemia in mice, is commonly used to study relationships between cancer and viruses. After receiving her doctorate in bacteriology from Yale University in 1950, she worked at the Sloan-Kettering Institute and then Cornell Medical College. At the time, of her death, Friend was professor and director of the Mount Sinai Medical Center's Center for Experimental Cell Biology.
Henry Ho, an electrical engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory since 1974, died at his home in Potomac, Md. on January 19. He was 49 years old. Ho, a member of the scientific research society Sigma Xi and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, specialized in the study of satellite communications systems and radar. Born in China, he came to the United States in 1948 and earned his doctorate in electrical engineering from George Washington University. He later taught engineering at the University's graduate school.
H.R. Wei, a nuclear physicist who for 17 years served as an adviser to the Republic of China Mission to the United Nations, died in Honolulu on January 2. He was 87 years old. Wei was a representative at the United Nations from 1946 to 1963, when he was appointed chairman of the physics department at Beth-any College in West Virginia. Following his retirement from Bethany in 1972, Wei moved to Honolulu.
Benjamin G. Levich, a physical chemist and Soviet emigré known for his pioneering research in the field of physiochemical hydrodynamics, died January 19 in Englewood, N.J. He was 69 years old. Levich, a former professor at Moscow University and director of the Hydrodynamics Institute, was denied an exit visa for six years because of his knowledge of Soviet nuclear research. He was granted permission to emigrate in 1978— the only member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences ever permitted to do so—prompted in part by a three-day conference held by Western scientists to call attention to the Soviet scientist's plight. Levich and his wife moved to Israel in 1978 and then to New York in 1979. At the time of his death Levich was the Albert Einstein Professor of Science at City College of the City University of New York and a professor of engineering at Tel Aviv University in Israel.