Six UChicago scholars elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Six members of the University of Chicago faculty have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences , one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies. They include Profs. Joy Bergelson, Maud Ellmann, Giulia Galli, William Howell, André Neves and Alexander Razborov.

These scholars have all conducted groundbreaking research in their fields, from predicting the behavior of molecules to examining U.S. presidential power to creating the foundations of new algorithms. They join the 2020 class of 276 individuals , announced April 23, which includes artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. This year’s class also includes nine UChicago alumni, including Trustee Debra Cafaro, JD’82; and Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer, a longtime supporter of UChicago.

Joy Bergelson is the James D. Watson Distinguished Service Professor in Ecology and Evolution and chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolution. Research in her lab is best known for dispelling the long-held belief in the field that arms-race dynamics typify the evolution of plant resistance to microbial pathogens in nature. An early researcher in research on the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, particularly from an evolutionary and ecological perspective, Bergelson and her group completed the first experiments using genetically manipulated plants to disentangle the mechanisms driving observed evolutionary dynamics. They also have pioneered research at the interface of ecology and evolution, namely eco-evolutionary dynamics.

Through her international collaborations, Bergelson has been instrumental in developing genome-wide association mapping in Arabidopsis, providing resources to the community and ultimately leading to the 1001 Genomes project.

Maud Ellmann is the Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin Professor of the Development of the Novel in English, and a leading scholar of British, Irish, and European modernism and critical theory. Ellmann researches the connections between literature, psychoanalysis and feminism, with her more recent publications turning to the literature and culture of World War II-era Britain.

Her most recent book, The Nets of Modernism, links the writings of Henry James, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce to Freudian psychoanalysis. Ellman’s earlier books include The Poetics of Impersonality (1987), which investigates the work of poets T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound to analyze their political and philosophical allegiances; The Hunger Artists (1993), which explores the relation between writing and self-starvation in a wide range of literary and cultural contexts; and a critical study of the Anglo-Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen, which won the British Academy’s Rose Mary Crawshay Prize in 2004.

Giulia Galli is the Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Chicago and senior scientist at UChicago-affiliated Argonne National Laboratory. She is a condensed matter physicist recognized for her contributions to the fields of computational condensed matter, materials science, and nanoscience, most notably first-principles simulations of materials and liquids, particularly materials for energy, properties of water, and excited state phenomena. She is also the director of the Midwest Integrated Center for Computational Materials.

William Howell , the Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics at the Harris School of Public Policy, the Department of Political Science and the College, is one of the nation’s leading presidential scholars. He has written widely on separation-of-power issues, including in Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy , forthcoming this year. He has previously authored a number of award-winning books, including The Wartime President and Power without Persuasion.

At UChicago, Howell directs the Center for Effective Government, which was founded to drive policy discussions through rigorous analysis and evidence. He is one of the co-hosts of Not Another Politics Podcast , produced by Harris Public Policy.

André Neves , Professor in the Department of Mathematics, is a geometer who has specialized in the study of minimal surfaces, i.e, shapes in space that are in some equilibrium position. They appear naturally in several applied fields, from general relativity to material sciences. His work includes a proof of the Willmore conjecture, or the lower bound of how far the surface area of a torus can deviate from a sphere, and a proof of abundance of minimal surfaces in general ambient spaces. He was awarded the Oswald Veblen Prize in Geometry in 2016 and a Simons Investigator Award in 2018.

Alexander Razborov , the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor in Mathematics and Computer Science, is a mathematician whose work in computational and proof complexity is foundational to the field. He specializes in research at the boundary between mathematics and theoretical computer science. For example, he introduced a powerful new method called flag algebras, which has already had a significant impact in enabling the use of computers to find solutions, with rigorous proofs, to problems in extremal combinatorics.

In addition to Cafaro, the UChicago alumni in this year’s class are James M. Ferguson, PhD’62; Andrew Gelman, Lab’63; Joseph Heitman, SB’84, SM’84; Philip Kim, AB’04; Molly Fox Przeworski, SM’97; PhD’00; Valerie Lynn Smith, AB’88; James W. Stone, MBA’70; and Suzanne Walker, AB’83.

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