National Academy of Sciences' Class of 1996 Sets New Record

Sets New Record A record-breaking number of women highlights this year's group of 60 scientists and engineers selected for membership in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The new members, elected during NAS's 133rd annual meeting in Washington, D.C., late last month, include 11 women. In addition, 15 foreign associates from eight countries were named (see accompanying story). All 75 will receive one of science's most prestigious honors when they are inducted into the academy at next ye

May 27, 1996
Thomas Durso

Sets New Record A record-breaking number of women highlights this year's group of 60 scientists and engineers selected for membership in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The new members, elected during NAS's 133rd annual meeting in Washington, D.C., late last month, include 11 women.

In addition, 15 foreign associates from eight countries were named (see accompanying story).

All 75 will receive one of science's most prestigious honors when they are inducted into the academy at next year's annual meeting. Members elected last year (K.Y. Kreeger, The Scientist, May 29,1995, page 3) were inducted at this year's meeting.

Joining the 60 new National Academy of Sciences (NAS) members elected late last month are 15 new foreign associates-nonvoting members with citizenship outside the United States. Their selection at this year's annual meeting of the academy raises the total of foreign associates to 308.

According to F. Sherwood Rowland, NAS's foreign secretary and a professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of California, Irvine, academy bylaws permit the annual selection of no more than two foreign associates with U.S. residency. The academy's aim is to recognize "distinguished and continuing achievements in original research" worldwide.

This year's pair of U.S. residents, Shirley M.C. Tilghman and Andrew John Wiles, both work at Princeton University. Tilghman, a Canadian, is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and the Howard A. Prior Professor of the Life Sciences at Princeton. The United Kingdom's Wiles is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics there.

"I think the United States gives foreigners who study here the opportunity to study in an environment that is both exciting and has ample research funds," notes Tilghman, a mammalian geneticist researching genomic imprinting. "There is just not the same deep pockets for biological research [here] that there is in the United States."

Wiles won acclaim for proving Fermat's Last Theorem. The same academy conference that resulted in his selection as a foreign associate also saw him receive the NAS Award in Mathematics (T.W. Durso, The Scientist, April 29, 1996, page 3).

"Shirley Tilghman has a very outstanding record as a molecular biologist," remarks NAS's Rowland, who adds with a dry laugh that Fermat's Last Theorem "wasn't an easy problem to solve. . . . The support for Mr. Wiles was overwhelming, but all of [the foreign scientists chosen] are excellent candidates. It is always a very difficult task to choose among the scientists that are available all around the world."

The 15 foreign associates elected to 1996 academy membership, along with their affiliations and country of citizenship at the time of election, are:

  • Setsuro Ebashi, professor, emeritus, of pharmacology, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Okazaki (Japan);
  • Samuel F. Edwards, Cavendish Professor of Physics, Universi-ty of Cambridge (U.K.);
  • Michael Elliott, Lawes Trust Senior Fellow, Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Herts (U.K.);
  • Jacques L. Lions, professor of industrial/applied mathematics, Collége de France, Paris (France);
  • Hartmut Michel, director, Max Planck Institute for Biophysics, Frankfurt, and professor, University of Frankfurt (Germany);
  • Venkataraman Radhakrishnan, director, emeritus, Raman Research Institute, Bangalore (India);
  • Andrew C. Renfrew, Disney Professor of Archaeology and master of Jesus College, and director, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge (U.K.);
  • Alan M. Sargeson, professor of inorganic chemistry, Australian National University, Canberra (Australia);
  • Reinhard Selten, professor of economics, University of Bonn (Germany);
  • Michael Smith, director, Biotechnology Laboratory, and professor of biochemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver (Canada);
  • Hans Thoenen, professor and director, department of neuro-chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Munich (Switzerland);
  • Shirley M.C. Tilghman, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Howard A. Prior Professor of the Life Sciences, Princeton University (Canada);
  • Koichiro Tsunewaki, professor, department of bioresources, Fukui Prefectural University, Fukui (Japan);
  • Andrew John Wiles, Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics, Princeton University (U.K.); and
  • Rolf M. Zinkernagel, head, Institute of Experimental Immunology, University Hospital of Zurich (Switzerland).


"Eleven women out of 60 is an all-time high," states NAS home secretary Peter H. Raven. Noting that "obviously, there's not gender equivalency" in science, particularly in academia, Raven comments: "I think the academy's response to it is in the more appropriate range now."

"I think the academy is making a very concerted effort to recognize the important role that women have played in science," says new member Jane Lubchenco, a Distinguished Professor at Oregon State University and a marine ecologist in its department of zoology. "I think that's timely and appropriate."

Congress incorporated NAS in 1863. Every year since 1977, members have selected 60 U.S. scientists and engineers to be inducted into the academy on the basis of their "distinguished and continuing achievements in original research." Current NAS members nominate candidates, who then are considered by members of 25 disciplinary sections. Final acceptance is determined by a general election of academy members.

The academy's 60 new inductees, from a total of 47 institutions and in a variety of disciplines, bring its total active membership to 1,760. About half of the new members work in the life sciences.

Harvard University and Harvard Medical School combined to place four researchers among NAS's class of 1996. The University of California, San Diego, reached the same total, with the UC system as a whole placing nine members.

New member Kyriacos C. Nicolaou pulls double duty as the Darlene Shiley Professor and chairman of chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and as a professor of chemistry at UC-San Diego (UCSD). He calls this year's list "a great sign for UCSD and in general for California. . . . This is a very strong showing for Southern California."

Thomas W. Cline, a new academy member and a professor of genetics at the University of California, Berkeley, agrees, but points out that California's "strong showing" is nothing new. "The UC system always does very well. They're great universities. There's been enormous state support to have a world-class university system in the state, and I'm hoping that that can continue."

News of the selections brought varied reactions of delight, gratitude, and humor from the new members.

Nicolaou says the phone call informing him came at 6 a.m. "Of course I was very stunned, followed by a lot of excitement," he comments. "I was very pleased, to say the least."

"It's a little bit discomforting when you realize there are a lot of deserving people who aren't in [the academy] yet," Cline observes. "It's like, 'Why me?' But what it means is a lot of people have said, 'We really respect the work you've done,' which is a nice thing to have people say to you. Of course, the work you do is never all your own. Especially in the life sciences, you're working with a lot of other people."

"Election to the academy is something that's very, very special," Lubchenco says. "It's one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon someone, so it's obviously very exciting."

William Happer, Jr., a professor of physics at Princeton University, at first deflects congratulations on his selection.

"I was pleased," Happer says. "To paraphrase Groucho [Marx], I'm not sure I'd like to be a member of an organization that would elect me, but it's very kind of them."

Happer's pride is not solely self-centered. As the chairman of Princeton's University Research Board, he saw himself and two other Princeton scientists elected to NAS. In addition, two Princeton researchers were named this year as foreign associates.

"We work hard to try to get the best people we can to come to Princeton to be part of our community," Happer contends. "One of the reasons I came to Princeton was I was looking forward to having a lot of stimulating people to talk to. It's certainly been that way. It's been a wonderful place to be."

Membership in the academy is an honor but "doesn't change my life very much," according to new member Carlo M. Croce, director of the Kimmel Cancer Institute and Kimmel Cancer Center, and a professor and chairman of the department of microbiology and immunology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Still, he acknowledges, "we all in science aspire to be members of the National Academy."

NAS describes itself as an organization "dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare." Many of the comments from new members interviewed by The Scientist reflect those aims.

"The academy is always interested in broad issues concerning science and health, so I think I will be involved in activities that affect those two issues," notes Croce, a codiscoverer of the FHIT gene, which is involved in the development of many common cancers. "Since the National Academy has an important voice in those areas, I will try to do my best in participating in various activities, committees, etc."

As a new NAS member and as the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Oregon State's Lubchenco says she will "continue . . . to promote the idea that we need a new social contract for science in this country-that the science that is done needs to be the science that is going to best enable this country and the world to address the very serious issues that are going to be facing us.

"I'm a strong proponent of science. I think it's incredibly fun," she continues. "I love doing research, love teaching-they're both very rewarding. I hope I'll always have the opportunity to do those things. At the same time, I think science has a social responsibility to make the products of their research accessible to a wider audience."

Nicolaou states that selection by the academy is more than just an honor: "It means both recognition by one's peers and at the same time responsibility in continuing to do research that hopefully will be useful to society one day."

Princeton's Happer echoes that theme. "I hope that the country realizes how important science continues to be for our future-not just for our intellectual future so we can stand around drinking cocktails telling each other how great we are, but for creating jobs and solving real problems, health problems, economic problems," he asserts. "That's what science has always done, and will continue to do in the future. As we struggle [with] budget problems, somebody has to be looking at science to make sure it doesn't get crushed."

For his part, UC-Berkeley's Cline praises the diversity of NAS's membership and expresses a wish that it will be reflected and maintained in science as a whole. "The academy is an incredible collection of people who have taken different routes and different styles," he observes. "I hope that is something we can keep in science-a respect for what scientists call polymorphism, a respect for very different styles."

New National Academy Of Sciences Members, 1996

Arthur Ashkin
member, technical staff, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Holmdel, N.J.

Cynthia M. Beall
S. Idell Pyle Professor, department of anthropology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland

Joseph A. Beavo
professor, department of pharmacology, University of Washington, Seattle

Enrico Bombieri
IBM Von Neumann Chair, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J.

Karl W. Butzer
Raymond C. Dickson Centennial Professor, departments of geography and anthropology, University of Texas, Austin

Roger A. Chevalier
W.H. Vanderbilt Professor of Astronomy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

Maarten J. Chrispeels
professor, department of biology, University of California, San Diego

Robert N. Clayton
Enrico Fermi Distinguished Service Professor, department of chemistry and geophysical sciences, University of Chicago

Thomas W. Cline
professor of genetics, University of California, Berkeley

Carolyn Cohen
professor of biology, Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass.

Charles S. Cox
professor, emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Carlo M. Croce
director, Kimmel Cancer Institute and Kimmel Cancer Center, and prof. and chair, dept. of microbiology and immunology, Thomas Jefferson U., Philadelphia

Herman Z. Cummins
Distinguished Professor of Physics, City College of New York, City University of New York

James E. Dahlberg
professor of biomolecular chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Alan M. Dressler
member, scientific staff, Carnegie Observatories, Pasadena, Calif.

Thaddeus P. Dryja
professor and surgeon in ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston

Zachary Fisk
professor of physics, Florida State University, Tallahassee
Victoria A. Fromkin
professor, emerita, of linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles

Elaine Fuchs
investigator, HHMI, and Amgen Professor of Basic Sciences, genetics and cell biology, University of Chicago

Elisabeth Gantt
professor, department of botany, University of Maryland, College Park

Ulf Grenander
L. Herbert Ballou University Professor, division of applied mathematics, Brown University, Providence, R.I.

James E. Hansen
head, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York

William Happer, Jr.
professor of physics, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.

Henry C. Harpending
professor, department of anthropology, Pennsylvania State U., University Park

Richard O. Hynes
investigator, HHMI, and professor and director, Center for Cancer Research, MIT, Cambridge

Yuh Nung Jan
investigator, HHMI, and professor of physiology and biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco

Richard V. Kadison
Kuemmerle Professor of Mathematics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Margaret G. Kidwell
professor and head, department of ecology and evolutionary biology, U. of Arizona, Tucson

Elliott D. Kieff
Harriet Ryan Albee Professor, Harvard University, and director of infectious disease, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston

Nancy J. Kopell
professor of mathematics, Boston University
Brian A. Larkins
Porterfield Professor of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona,Tucson

Johanna M.H. Levelt Sengers
guest researcher, thermophysics division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md.

Jane Lubchenco
Distinguished Professor, Oregon State University, Corvallis
John F. Nash, Jr. research associate, department of mathematics, Princeton University
Jeremy Nathans
investigator, HHMI, and associate prof., dept. of molecular biology and genetics, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore
Jerry E. Nelson
professor of astronomy, University of California, Santa Cruz, and astronomer, Lick Observatory, Santa Cruz

Maria I. New
Harold and Percy Uris Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, and chair, department of pediatrics, Cornell U. Medical College, New York

Kyriacos C. Nicolaou
Darlene Shiley Professor and chair, department of chemistry, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif., and professor of chemistry, UC-San Diego

Neil D. Opdyke
professor of geology, University of Florida, Gainesville

Larry E. Overman
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine

Marcus E. Raichle
professor of radiology and neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
John B. Robbins
chief, Laboratory of Developmental and Molecular Immunity, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Md.

R. Michael Roberts J.F. McKenzie Distinguished Professor of Reproductive Biology, depts. of animal science and biochemistry, and chair, dept. of veterinary pathobiology, U. of Missouri, Columbia

Robert T. Sauer
Whitehead Professor of Biochemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Thomas E. Shenk
investigator, HHMI, and James A. Elkins, Jr. Professor in Life Sciences, department of molecular biology, Princeton U.

Edward E. Smith
professor, department of psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Christopher R. Somerville
professor, dept. of biological sciences, Stanford University, and director, dept. of plant biology, Carnegie Institution of Washington

Timothy A. Springer
vice president, Center for Blood Research, and Latham Family Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

John W. Suttie
professor and chair, department of nutritional sciences, and professor, department of biochemistry, U. of Wisconsin, Madison

Clifford H. Taubes
professor of mathematics, Harvard University

Susan S. Taylor
professor of chemistry, University of California, San Diego

Alvin V. Tollestrup
Senior Scientist III, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, Ill.
Erik Trinkaus
professor of anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and associate, National Center of Scientific Research, University of Bordeaux, France

William S. Vickrey
McVickar Professor, emeritus, of Political Economy, Columbia University, New York

Andrew J. Viterbi
vice chairman and chief technical officer, Qualcomm Inc., San Diego

Richard A. Webb
professor and Alford Ward Chair, department of physics, Center for Superconductivity Research, U. of Maryland, College Park

William T. Wickner
professor and chair, department of biochemistry, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, N.H.

John R. Winckler
professor, emeritus, of physics, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

John T. Yates, Jr.
director, Pittsburgh Surface Science Center, and R.K. Mellon Professor, department of chemistry and physics, U. of Pittsburgh

George Zweig
senior fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.Mex.