Two UCSC faculty members elected to National Academy of Sciences

Two faculty members at the University of California, Santa Cruz, were elected to the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. David Haussler, professor of biomolecular engineering, and Stan Woosley, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, are among 72 new members of the academy elected this year.

"Election to the academy is considered one of the highest honors in American science and engineering," said Ralph Cicerone, who became president of the academy in 2005.

For Haussler, his election to the National Academy of Sciences came a day after the announcement that he has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (see separate press release). Woosley is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honor he received in 2001.

Haussler, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, directs the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering at UCSC. He is also affiliated with UCSC's Center for Molecular Biology of RNA and is scientific codirector of the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research. He has done pioneering work in the fields of computational learning theory and bioinformatics. His research group made vital contributions to the International Human Genome Project and remains at the forefront of the field of computational genomics, exploring the evolution and function of human genes and working to identify and understand all of the biologically important parts of the genome.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, Haussler earned his B.A. in mathematics from Connecticut College, M.S. in applied mathematics from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He joined the UCSC faculty in 1986.

Woosley, a theoretical astrophysicist, is a leading authority on supernovae and gamma-ray bursts, the most violent explosions in the universe. He directs the Center for Supernova Research, funded by the Department of Energy and headquartered at UCSC. His work on the evolution of massive stars and their explosion as supernovae describes how the "heavy" elements needed for life, such as oxygen and iron, are forged and ejected. In addition, Woosley's "collapsar" model of massive star explosions has been identified as the central engine of certain types of gamma-ray bursts in which a huge dying star collapses into a central black hole.

A fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), Woosley received the APS's Hans Bethe Prize, as well as the American Astronomical Society's Bruno Rossi Prize, in 2005. UCSC's Division of Physical and Biological Sciences honored him with its Outstanding Faculty Award in 2003-04. Woosley earned his B.A. in physics and M.S. and Ph.D. in astrophysics from Rice University. He joined the UCSC faculty in 1975 and has served three times as chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.