Seventeen Harvard professors were elected to become members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, according to a Wednesday press release by the honorary society.
Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has appointed more than 14,600 members. This year, the Academy has selected a cohort of 269 individuals. The organization also conducts research across multiple disciplines, publishes a journal, and hosts events on a variety of topics.
Nancy C. Andrews, chair of the Academy’s board of directors, said in Wednesday’s press release that this year’s appointees bring “diverse expertise to meet the pressing challenges and possibilities that America and the world face today.”
The Harvard professors who will be inducted come from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Medical School, the Kennedy School, the Business School, the Divinity School, the Law School, and the Graduate School of Education.
Government professor Daniel Ziblatt, whose research focuses on challenges facing American and European democracies, said he was “greatly honored by the recognition.”
He added it was meaningful to him to be recommended by current U.S. President Joe Biden and ex-President Barack Obama, as well as other advocates of democracy.
HKS professor William C. Clark, who advocates for sustainable development, wrote in an email that he was “grateful for the privilege of joining today this awesome group in its historic mission.”
HMS professor Benjamin L. Ebert, who studies leukemia and its potential treatments, thanked his coworkers in an email, writing that his selection “reflects the work of my entire laboratory and all of our collaborators much more than my personal contributions.”
David S. Pellman, an HMS professor whose work focuses on cell division errors and their impact on evolution, also thanked his collaborators and students. He added that he hopes his work can lead to novel cancer therapy methods.
Jacob K. Olupona, an African and African American Studies and Divinity School professor who is currently studying the life of a southwestern Nigerian medicine man and chief named Lóòghò Bamatula, said the election “came as a big surprise.”
“To be a member of the Academy is not a joke at all,” he said. “I will dedicate this fellowship to my parents: my late father, my mother, who brought me to this world and who gave me a good education when I was young.”
HDS professor emeritus David D. Hall ’58, who specializes in 17th century American history, said his election comes near the end of his academic career and celebrates “a large body of work stretching back some 40 years.”
Michèle Lamont, professor of Sociology, European Studies, and African and African American Studies, whose research focuses on how an individual’s work is valued throughout different communities, said she has received more from her students “than I have given in terms of my learning.”
“I would thank them for feeding my soul and my mind,” she said.
HKS and HBS professor Amitabh Chandra, whose research facilitates innovations in medicine, lauded those who have assisted the “great scientists and artists whose work has profoundly improved human experience” who have been elected to the Academy.
“They were supported by optimistic institutions and cheerful families, friends, and colleagues, who kept the elevator open for the pokey member, drowning in paperwork and laundry,” he wrote. “As in science and medicine, election to the AAAS is really a recognition that these invisible forces are too difficult to list, and it is easier to name the individual who alighted first from the elevator.”
—Staff writer Rysa Tahilramani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.