Four UCSC faculty members are among the newly elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. They are Michael Dine, distinguished professor of physics; Gary Glatzmaier, professor of Earth and planetary sciences; Susan Strome, professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology; and John Thompson, distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.
The four scientists join 20 other current UCSC faculty members who are fellows of the academy, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies. They are among 229 leaders in the sciences, the humanities and the arts, business, public affairs, and the nonprofit sector who have been elected this year as fellows and foreign honorary members of the academy. Other fellows elected this year include astronomer Geoffrey Marcy, who earned his Ph.D. at UCSC in 1982; UCLA Chancellor Gene Block; and director Francis Ford Coppola.
"The men and women we elect today are true pathbreakers who have made unique contributions to their fields, and to the world," said academy chair Louis W. Cabot. "The Academy honors them and their work, and they, in turn, honor us."
Dine is a theoretical physicist who has made major contributions in the areas of supersymmetry, string theory, and other efforts to develop a "new physics" beyond the standard model of particle physics. His work also addresses big questions in cosmology, such as the nature of dark matter and dark energy. Ideas developed by Dine and others have led to predictions that will be tested for the first time in experiments beginning this year at the Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator. A fellow of the American Physical Society, he joined the UCSC faculty in 1990.
Glatzmaier is a leading authority on the Earth's magnetic field and the geodynamo in Earth's core that maintains it. He develops sophisticated computer models to simulate and study the structure and dynamics of the interiors of planets and stars. His models of the geodynamo help explain reversals of the Earth's magnetic field seen in the geologic record. Glatzmaier's work has been featured at the American Museum of Natural History and in the NOVA program "Magnetic Storm." A fellow of the American Geophysical Union and Los Alamos National Laboratory, he joined the UCSC faculty in 1998.
Strome is a developmental biologist whose research focuses on germ cells, the cells that give rise to eggs and sperm. Germ cells have special properties: their immortality allows them to be perpetuated from generation to generation, and their "totipotency" allows them to generate all of the diverse cell types of the body in each generation. Strome's laboratory uses a tiny worm (C. elegans) to study the molecular mechanisms that regulate germ cell development. She has had continuous funding for her research from the National Institutes of Health and additional funding from the American Cancer Society, National Science Foundation, and Guggenheim Foundation. She joined the UCSC faculty in 2007.
Thompson is an expert on coevolution, ecology, and biodiversity. His research focuses on the ways in which coevolution between species organizes the Earth's biodiversity. The goal is to understand how the web of life is organized across broad geographic landscapes as species coevolve with each other, within and across biological communities. The author of three books on coevolution, Thompson is a past president of the American Society of Naturalists and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Entomological Society of London. He joined the UCSC faculty in 2000. In 2008, he received the Per Brinck Oikos Award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Science of Ecology.
Established in 1780 by John Adams and other founders of the nation, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences undertakes studies of complex and emerging problems. Its membership of scholars and practitioners from many disciplines and professions gives it a unique capacity to conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary, long-term policy research. Current projects focus on science and technology; global security; social policy and American institutions; the humanities and culture; and education. The new class of fellows will be inducted at a ceremony on October 9 at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.