May 29, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 17

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    National academies elect 10 on faculty

    By William Harms, Steve Koppes and Catherine Gianaro
    News Office, Medical Center Public Affairs

    The American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences have elected to their memberships 10 University faculty members.

    Li Wen-Hsuing
    Li Wen-Hsiung and Sidney Nagel are among 72 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

    Election to membership in the National Academy of Sciences is considered one of the highest honors accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer.

    Li, the George Wells Beadle Distinguished Service Professor in Ecology & Evolution and the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division, focuses on three main areas in his research.

    One goal is to understand the genetics, evolution and mechanism of color vision in mammals through a combination of molecular, evolutionary and statistical approaches. Li has found evidence that tri-chromatic or full-color vision originated in prosimians, a group of lemurs, bush babies and pottos, rather than in higher primates, pushing the origin of primate color vision back roughly 20 million years.

    Li also studies the molecular evolution of duplicate genes, the functional and evolutionary genomics of the yeast and the genetic mutation rate differences among evolutionary lineages, and the patterns of mutation among genomic regions.

    Li came to Chicago from the University of Texas at Houston, where he was the Betty Trotter professor in medical sciences.

    Li has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1999.

    Sidney Nagel
    Nagel, the Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor in Physics and the College, specializes in the physics of solids, liquids and granular materials. Much of his work has drawn attention to phenomena that scientists have regarded as outside the realm of traditional physics. This includes the science of drops, granular materials and jamming.

    Nagel is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    His other honors include a fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation from 1979 to 1981, the University's Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1996, the Klopsteg Memorial Award of the American Association of Physics Teachers in 1998 and the American Physical Society's Oliver Buckley Prize in 1999.

    Nagel directed Chicago's Materials Research Laboratory from 1987 to 1991 and served as Master of the Physical Sciences Collegiate Division and Associate Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences from 1997 to 2000.

    The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots, has elected eight University professors as 2003 fellows.

    They are John Cacioppo, the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology; Rochelle Easton Esposito, Professor in Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology; John Mark Hansen, the Charles L. Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and Dean of the Social Sciences Division; Thomas Holt, the James Westfall Thompson Professor in History; Friedrich Katz, the Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor in History; Donald Lamb Jr., the Louis Block Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics; Tanya Luhrmann, Professor in Human Development; and John Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science.

    The fellows are elected to five classes: mathematics and physical sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, humanities and the arts, and public affairs, business and administration. American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellows conduct interdisciplinary studies in a broad range of disciplines.

    John Cacioppo
    Cacioppo, who was elected to the social relations section of the social sciences class, studies how social influences affect the mind, brain and body.

    He leads a team of scholars that received a $7.5 million grant from the National Institute on Aging of the Department of Health and Human Services to study the psychological and physiological processes responsible for people who feel socially isolated having more health problems and a shorter life expectancy than those who do not feel socially isolated. As part of this effort, Cacioppo and his colleagues are conducting a longitudinal study of 230 adults between ages 50 and 64 over a five-year period.

    A faculty member since 1999, Cacioppo also has ongoing research in the area of social and cognitive neuroscience funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Naval Research.

    Rochelle Easton Esposito
    Esposito was elected to the biological sciences section of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on the genetic control of chromosome behavior during meiosis.

    Meiosis plays a central role in the formation of gametes during sexual reproduction. The major genetic events that occur during this process are critical for generating genetic diversity and producing offspring with normal chromosome numbers.

    Esposito's research, which pioneered the identification of genes required for meiotic development in budding yeast, aims to understand the genetic mechanisms that specify the orderly progression of meiotic events. Of particular interest to Esposito is regulation of meiotic gene expression, interaction of meiotic and mitotic division controls, and signal pathways coordinating meiosis with the packaging of meiotic products into mature gametes.

    Esposito chaired the Committee on Genetics for many years,

    served as president of the Genetics Society of America and is a fellow of the American Society of Microbiology.

    John Mark Hansen
    Hansen was elected to the political science, international relations and public policy section of the social sciences class. He is one of the nation's leading scholars of American politics, focusing his research on interest groups, citizen activism and public opinion.

    In 1999, he received the Heinz Eulau Award from the American Political Science Association for Best Article Published in the American Political Science Review. He also received the Outstanding Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists in 1995 for Mobilization, Participation and Democracy in America.

    Hansen, who joined the Chicago faculty in 1986, was named Dean of the Social Sciences Division in 2002.

    Holt has been named a fellow in the history section of the humanities and arts class.

    Thomas Holt
    Holt, a leading scholar of African-American history, is a specialist in American slavery emancipation, race relations and freedom movements.

    His books include The Problem of Race in the 21st Century, published in 2002; The Problem of Freedom: Race, Labor, and Politics in Jamaica and Britain, 1832-1938, published in 1992; and Black over White: Negro Political Leadership in South Carolina during Reconstruction, published in 1977.

    He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Elsa Goveia Prize in 1995 from the Association of Caribbean Historians for The Problem of Freedom and the Southern Historical Association's Charles S. Sydnor Award in 1978 for Black over White.

    A member of the Chicago faculty since 1987, Holt received a MacArthur fellowship in 1990 and served as President of the American Historical Association from 1994 to 1995.

    Friedrich Katz
    Katz has been named a fellow to the history section of the humanities and arts class. Katz is a leading American expert on Mexican history, specializing in 19th- and 20th-century history of Mexico. He also studies other Latin American countries, diplomatic relations between Latin America, Europe and the United States, and revolutions in Latin America, especially the Mexican Revolution.

    A faculty member since 1971, Katz received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in 1977.

    He has received numerous awards for his work, including three 1998 book awards. Those awards were the Bryce Wood Award for the best book on Latin America, The Life and Times of Pancho Villa, from the Latin American Studies Association; the Beveridge Prize for best book on the history of the Americas from the American Historical Association; and the Bolton Prize for best book on Latin American History from the Conference on Latin American History.

    Donald Lamb Jr.
    Lamb, who was elected to the mathematics and physical sciences class, has focused his research on fundamental, unsolved problems in high-energy astrophysics. He is the Director of the University's Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes and is the mission scientist for NASA's High Energy Transient Explorer II satellite, which studies gamma-ray bursts, the most powerful explosions in the universe.

    Lamb, who became a Professor at the University in 1985, is the author of more than 300 publications and the co-editor of two books, Fundamental Problems in the Theory of Stellar Evolution, and Cataclysmic Variables and Low-Mass X-ray Binaries.

    He also is a former John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellow and a Marshall Scholar.

    Luhrmann, who was elected to the social relations section of the social sciences class, joined the Chicago faculty in 2000.

    Tanya Luhrmann
    A cultural anthropologist, Luhrmann studies the connections between mental health and culture, focusing her ethnographic research on psychiatric and religious experience. Her specific research interests include witchcraft, South Asia, modern American religions, trauma and people with serious mental illness.

    She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Stirling Prize from the American Anthropological Association for an essay on psychological anthropology titled "The Magic of Secrecy" and the Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing for her book Of Two Minds: An Anthropologist Looks at American Psychiatry.

    Mearsheimer, a leading expert on military strategy, was elected to the political science, international relations and public policy section of the social sciences class.

    John Mearsheimer
    His work explores deterrence theory and relations among great powers, particularly in the wake of the cold war. He is the author of the recently published book, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, which recently won the Joseph Lepgold Book Award.

    A faculty member since 1982, Mearsheimer won the University's Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1985. He also received the Edgar S. Furniss, Jr. Book Award in 1983 for Conventional Deterrence.

    He was the recipient of the Whitney H. Shepardson Fellowship from the Council of foreign relations and was a George Kistiakowsky scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences from 1986 to 1987.

    Boyan Jovanovic, a Visiting Professor in Economics since 2000, was named a fellow in the economics section of the social science class.

    A specialist on industrial organization and growth and development, he is the author or co-author of numerous papers, including the recently published "Spillovers and Inequality," "Moore's Laws and Learning by Doing," and "IT Revolution and the Stock Market: Evidence."

    He is editor of the Review of Economic Dynamics, the official journal of the Society of Economic Dynamics, for which he is president-elect.

    He also is a fellow in the Econometrics Society and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Since 1984, Jovanovic has received research funding from NSF.