Three faculty members elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 19, 2011
By: Robert Sanders, Media Relations

Three University of California, Berkeley, faculty members – a scholar of America’s social history, a computer scientist focused on machine learning and a theoretical chemist – are among 212 new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced today (Tuesday, April 19) in Washington, D.C.

The new electees are Claude S. Fischer, professor of sociology; Martin P. Head-Gordon, professor of chemistry and faculty chemist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Michael I. Jordan, the Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and professor of statistics.

UC Berkeley now has more than 220 current or emeritus faculty members who are also members of the academy.

Among the other new members is UC Berkeley alumnus Robert D. Haas, chairman emeritus of the Levi Strauss & Co. Board of Directors; former president and chief executive officer of Levi Strauss & Co., current president of the Levi Strauss Foundation and a long-time supporter of UC Berkeley.

In addition to a number of scientists and social scientists, the new members include jazz icon Dave Brubeck; documentary filmmaker Ken Burns; actor Daniel Day-Lewis; playwright John Guare; novelist Oscar Hijuelos; singer-songwriter Paul Simon; and actor Sam Waterston.

Founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots, the academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” 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 more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Not only a prestigious honorary society, the academy is a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to academy studies of science and technology policy, global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities and education.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 1 at the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.