Yale News

On April 22, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the election of 252 new members, 14 of whom are Yale faculty.

Nine of the faculty — Dirk Bergemann, Ronald Breaker, Hui Cao, BJ Casey, Valerie Hansen, Gregory Huber, Marcia K. Johnson, Daniel A. Spielman and Ebonya L. Washington — hail from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, while four — Nancy Brown, Arthur L. Horwich, Akiko Iwasaki and Frederick J. Sigworth — are from the School of Medicine and one, Kathryn Tanner, comes from the Divinity School.

“It is a tribute to the excellence of our faculty that they are being honored in this way,” Tamar Gendler, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, told the News.

According to its website, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1780 and aims to bring together “exceptionally accomplished individuals” to work on the problems faced by every generation of American society. Members of the academy often work together on various commissions on issues such as education, global affairs, and democracy and justice. Through this work, they publish reports and recommendations for how the country or world can improve in specific areas.

According to Gendler, the number of faculty elected this year from Yale is “unusually high.” Last year, for example, seven Yale faculty members were elected, half of 2021’s number.

“I’m thrilled to be honored alongside such an impressive cohort of other Yale inductees,” Huber, Forst Family professor of political science, wrote to the News in an email. “One of the great things about being at Yale is the breadth of excellence across the diversity of arts, sciences, humanities, and social sciences. On a personal level, it was wonderful news in an otherwise difficult year.”

Huber, whose work focuses on American politics and political economy, is joined in this year’s cohort by Yale faculty whose work ranges from information transfers in cells to market design research — demonstrating the breadth of focuses found in elected academy members.

Hansen, Stanley Woodward professor of history, is a Chinese and world historian who, in an email to the News, emphasized how grateful she was for the support of the University, specifically the Council of East Asian Studies at Yale, in allowing her to pursue her research.

Casey, professor of psychology, researches the adolescent brain and helped conceive a foundational theory that informs the different ways through which scientists view developing and developed brains.

“I am humbled and thrilled to be elected to the Academy,” she wrote to the News in an email.

Several of the elected faculty emphasized that the honor is not theirs alone, telling the News that it is shared with students, parents, collaborators and other colleagues.

Cao, the John C. Malone professor of applied physics, told the News that she is “deeply indebted” to her parents for their “unwavering support.”

And Johnson, Sterling professor emeritus of psychology, wrote that she was especially excited by how her election to the academy associates her with present and past members who have contributed much to society.

“My election to the AAAS honors my students and other colleagues, whose insights, scholarship, perseverance, and technical and critical skills are baked into our collaborative adventures in the science of human cognition and memory,” she wrote.

Notable new members this year also include CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta and talk show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey. Previously elected members include Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Anthony Fauci and John Legend.

Madison Hahamy is a junior from Chicago, Illinois majoring in English and in Human Rights. She previously wrote for the Yale Daily News and served as Senior Editor for The New Journal.