Eleven Yale faculty members have been inducted into the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.
The academy honors those who have made significant achievements in science and engineering, in addition to conducting research in the public interest in order to advise government officials. Out of the 24 total inductees, Yale holds the majority, followed by five inductees from the United Technology Corps. New members this year also hail from the University of Connecticut, Wesleyan University and Eversource — the largest energy delivery company in New England.
“Connecticut has a great history of scientific and engineering achievements, so it is an honor to be elected to the [Connecticut] Academy of Science and Engineering,” said Jordan Peccia, academy inductee and Yale professor of environmental engineering. “The academy is a body that brings science, engineering and rational thought to understanding and solving important problems.”
In addition to Peccia, the other 10 inductees are epidemiology professor Alison Galvani, molecular biophysics professor Jonathon Howard, nursing professor Ann Kurth NUR ’90, biomedical engineering professor Andre Levchenko, ecosystem ecology professor Peter Raymond, surgery otolaryngology professor Philip Rubin, computer science professor Zhong Shao, cellular and molecular physiology professor Fred Sigworth GRD ’79, gynecology and reproductive sciences professor Hugh Taylor ’83 and cell biology professor Sandra Wolin GRD ’85.
According to Academy Executive Director Richard Strauss, choosing members for induction is a multi-month process. In October 2016, members of the academy were asked to nominate potential candidates. These candidates were then reviewed by the induction committee before a decision was made on which members to put on the ballot for election. Once all current members had voted “Yes” or “No” on the candidates, the 24 who received at least 50 percent of possible “Yes” votes and no more than 10 percent “No” votes were selected for induction, Strauss explained.
The academy often runs studies related to current issues in Connecticut. Recent research has related to family violence, phosphorus in inland waterways, the carbon footprint of Connecticut bus companies and winter highway maintenance, according to Strauss. He added that the academy also focuses on promoting awareness regarding issues related to science and technology.
“We provide advice and guidance to the state on issues of science, engineering, medicine [and] technology for agencies and the general assembly,” Strauss said. “That can help provide value in terms of the quality of the legislation and programs that the state enters into in a variety of fields.”
Many of the 2017 inductees from Yale told the News that they are excited to use their new place in the academy as a way to pursue change related to their respective fields and causes.
Sigworth said he feels investments in science and science education are changes most likely to pay off on both a state and national level, adding that he hopes he will be able to promote changes along these lines while in the academy.
“I am very much in favor of scientists helping in the decision making, both as far as spending money on supporting science and technology and also in terms of informing government decisions,” he said. “I am very concerned about the way in which sciences and the results of science are not being taken seriously by big parts of our national government.”
Taylor said he plans to advocate for more studies related to female health.
“I think women’s health has historically been overlooked and undervalued,” Taylor sid. “Women and more specifically pregnant women have been excluded from many medical trials, so we need to make sure that women’s health is prioritized, that we understand it well and that we advocate for it.”