National Academy of Sciences elects new members

May 3, 2011
By: Public Affairs

Three University of California, Berkeley, faculty members were elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), according to an announcement today (Tuesday, May 3) from the academy.

Membership in the academy is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. Among the NAS’s renowned members are Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright and Alexander Graham Bell. More than 180 living members of the academy have won Nobel Prizes.

Members are chosen for their excellence in original scientific research and serve on panels that investigate and report to government agencies on areas of science or art. The 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 15 countries bring total active membership in the society to 2, 113 and the total number of foreign associated to 418. The new members will be inducted into the academy next April during its 149th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The new UC Berkeley members are:

  • James Demmel, Dr. Richard Carl Dehmel Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Mathematics and the  Computer Science Division. His research areas as computer architecture and engineering, scientific computing, and numerical analysis and linear algebra.
  • Michael Hanemann, Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. His research interests include non-market valuation, environmental economics and policy, water pricing and management, demand modeling for market research and policy design, the economics of irreversibility and adaptive management, and welfare economics.
  • Athanasios Theologis, retired adjunct professor, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. During his career,  he made fundamental discoveries relating to the physiology of fruit ripening, the mechanism and regulation of ethylene synthesis and action, and the molecular basis of auxin action.

With the three new electees, UC Berkeley now counts 139 NAS members and foreign associates among its faculty.

Altogether,  the University of California has 15 scientists among the new members. As in previous years, the total number of  UC faculty elected to the NAS is higher than the number of faculty elected from all other public universities combined.

The NAS is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to furthering science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Established in 1863, the NAS has served to “investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art” whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.