National Academy of Sciences

Credit: National Academy of Sciences

Campus & Community

10 faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences

3 min read

SEAS, Center for Astrophysics, and the departments of chemistry, economics, neurobiology, public health, and applied physics are represented

Ten Harvard University scientists have been elected by their peers to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of “their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” The society, together with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine, provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

NAS is a private, nonprofit institution that recognizes achievement in science by election to its membership. Established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, it now counts 2,347 voting members and 487 foreign associates among its members.

In addition to welcoming new members, NAS presented 19 awards to honor extraordinary scientific achievements in a wide variety of fields. Two were presented to Harvard faculty.

Xiaowei Zhuang received the 2019 NAS Award for Scientific Discovery. Zhuang is a pioneer in super-resolution imaging, single-molecule imaging, and genome-scale imaging. The technologies developed in her laboratory have provided critical understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cellular function. Zhuang is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, David B. Arnold Jr. Professor of Science, professor of chemistry and chemical biology, and professor of physics at Harvard.

David Reich received the 2019 NAS Award in Molecular Biology. Reich has discovered groundbreaking techniques to trace ancient human migrations using ancient DNA. His work shows how modern humans have been shaped by population mixtures, and illuminates disease risk factors across populations. Reich is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School.

Harvard faculty elected to NAS

The 10 Harvard faculty are among 100 new members and 25 foreign associates recognized by the NAS this year. They are:

  1. Joanna Aizenberg, Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science and professor of chemistry and chemical biology, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
  2. Cynthia Friend, Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry, professor of materials sciences, and director, Rowland Institute at Harvard, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.
  3. Daniel Kahne, Higgins Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and of molecular and cellular biology, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.
  4. David Laibson, Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics and chair, Department of Economics.
  5. Matthew Rabin, Pershing Square Professor of Behavioral Economics, Department of Economics, Harvard Business School.
  6. Mark J. Reid, senior radio astronomer, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
  7. Bernardo L. Sabatini, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Alice and Rodman W. Moorhead III Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School.
  8. Zhigang Suo, Allen E. and Marilyn M. Puckett Professor of Mechanics and Materials, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
  9. David R. Williams, Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health, and professor of African and African American studies and sociology, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
  10. Amir Yacoby, professor of physics and professor of applied physics, Department of Physics.

You can read more about Kahne and Sabatini in a story on the HMS website, and about Aizenberg, Friend, Suo, and Yacoby in a story on the SEAS website.