American Academy of Arts and Sciences elects 26 members with UChicago ties

The newly elected class of members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences includes eight UChicago faculty members and 18 additional University and Laboratory Schools alumni—three of whom are current or former University trustees.

The Academy announced 204 new members on April 23, including some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, and civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders. They will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 11 at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the Academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts, and education.

“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” said Don Randel, chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the Academy a unique capacity—and responsibility—to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”

Members of the 2014 class include winners of the Nobel Prize; the Wolf Prize; the Pulitzer Prize; National Medal of the Arts; MacArthur, Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships; and Grammy, Emmy, Oscar and Tony awards. 

Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Margaret Meade and Martin Luther King Jr. in the 20th. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

The full list of the new members is available at

Eight UChicago faculty members have been elected to the Academy and will be inducted at a special ceremony in October. They are:


Hans Dieter Betz is an internationally known and respected scholar of studies of the New Testament and early Christian literature, seen in its cultural and religious environment of the Hellenistic and Roman period. Specific projects include the letters of the Apostle Paul, the Sermon on the Mount, some Greek authors like Lucian of Samosata, Plutarch and the magical papyri of Graeco-Egypt. Besides a number of standard monographs, he published many essays and lexicon articles, a selection of them reprinted in five volumes of Collected Essays. He also served as editor-in-chief of the 4th edition of the German lexicon Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (9 vols.) as well as its English edition Religion Past and Present (14 vols.). Betz received his education in Germany and England, with his doctorate and “habilitation” from Mainz, and an honorary doctorate from Erlangen-Nürnberg. Betz emigrated to the United States in 1963. As a visiting scholar he taught at Uppsala, Oxford, Cambridge, Zürich, Tübingen, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Stellenbosch. At UChicago he served as the Shailer Mathews Professor in the Divinity School from 1978 until his retirement in 2000.


James Chandler, AM’72, PhD’78, is the Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Distinguished Service Professor of English, director of the Franke Institute for the Humanities, founder and director of the Center for Disciplinary Innovation, and chair of Cinema and Media Studies. His research interests include British and Irish literature since the early Enlightenment, American cinema, and the relationship of literary criticism to film criticism. England in 1819, his study of literary historicism and its limits, won the Press’s Laing Prize in 2000. Recent publications include The Cambridge History of English Romantic Literature (2009) and An Archaeology of Sympathy: The Sentimental Mode in Literature and Cinema (University of Chicago Press, 2013), which traces the formal foundations of modern narrative cinema to the early sentimentalist moment of literature and moral philosophy. He is currently at work on a book about practical criticism in literature and cinema.


Michael Greenstone, Lab’87, who will join UChicago as a professor of economics and director of the interdisciplinary Energy Policy Institute at Chicago on July 1, is a leading energy and environmental economist. His research focuses largely on the costs and benefits of environmental quality and energy policy. Over the years, he has worked extensively on the Clean Air Act and examined its impacts on air quality, manufacturing activity, housing prices and infant mortality. He is currently engaged in a large-scale project to estimate the costs of climate change around the world and his research has increasingly focused on energy and environmental questions in developing countries, such as China and India.


Lawrence Grossman conducts research on the origin of solid matter in the solar system. Grossman, professor in geophysical sciences, has devoted most of his career to studying the role condensation and evaporation processes played in the formation of minerals in primitive meteorites, pieces of asteroids that have fallen to Earth. His research aims to learn new insights about how the sun and planets formed 4.5 billion years ago. Early in his career, Grossman researched lunar samples collected during Apollo 15’s mission to the moon. He also was among the first scientists to examine samples of Comet Wild-2 that were returned to Earth via robotic spacecraft. An elected member of the Royal Society of Canada, Grossman’s honors also include the Meteoritical Society’s Leonard Medal.


Wayne Hu’s research focuses on understanding structure formation in the universe as revealed in temperature differences found in the cosmic microwave background radiation (the afterglow of the Big Bang), gravitational lensing (an effect that distorts images of galaxies), and how galaxies and clusters of galaxies were seeded at the Big Bang. A professor in astronomy and astrophysics, Hu also develops and tests theories for dark energy and cosmic acceleration. Hu’s honors include a Packard Fellowship, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society, and the Outstanding Young Researcher Award from the Overseas Chinese Physics Association.


John Maunsell is one of the world’s foremost experts on the neuroscience of vision, perception and attention. As the inaugural director of the Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology and Human Behavior, scheduled to begin when his faculty appointment starts this summer, Maunsell will oversee the development of a highly collaborative neuroscience institute that builds upon the diverse strengths of the University of Chicago, from evolutionary biology to economics to the University's nationally ranked academic medical center. He has served since 2008 as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neuroscience, one of the top peer-reviewed journals in its field and the chief publication of the Society for Neuroscience, the world’s largest neuroscientist organization.


Dam Thanh Son’s research has demonstrated the links between such seemingly unrelated areas of physics as nuclear physics and black holes. His interests also range across atomic, condensed matter, nuclear and particle physics. Son, University Professor in Physics, gained international prominence for his application of ideas from string theory to the understanding of nuclear matter under high temperature and high density—conditions generated in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Last year Son became a 2013 Simons Investigator, which will provide him with $500,000 of support over five years. Son also has received fellowships from the American Physical Society and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Outstanding Junior Investigator award.


Amanda Woodward has pioneered the development of experimental methods to investigate social cognition in infants and young children. Her research has yielded fundamental insights into infants' social understanding and the processes that support conceptual development early in life. Her current work investigates infants' sensitivity to interpersonal social structure, the effects of cultural and community contexts in shaping children's social learning strategies and the neural processes involved in early social-cognitive development. Woodward is the William S. Gray Professor of Psychology and was a founding member of the Center for Early Childhood Research. She is currently chair of the Psychology Department and president of the Cognitive Development Society. Woodward’s research has been recognized by a number of awards, including the Ann L. Brown Award for Excellence in Developmental Research, the APA Boyd McCandless Award for an Early Career Contribution to Developmental Psychology and the John Merck Scholars Award. She is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association.   

Three current and former UChicago trustees, who are alumni of the University or its Laboratory Schools, also will be inducted into the Academy in October. They are:


Sherry Lansing, Lab’62, is a former University trustee. During almost 30 years in the motion picture business, Lansing was involved in the production, marketing and distribution of more than 200 films, including Academy Award winners Forrest Gump (1994), Braveheart (1995) and Titanic (1997). In 1980, Lansing became the first woman to head a major film studio when she was appointed president of 20th Century Fox. She went on to serve as chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures from 1992 to 2005. After Lansing left Paramount as chairman and CEO she created The Sherry Lansing Foundation, a not-for-profit organization supporting cancer research and public education. Her awards include the Distinguished Alumna award from the Laboratory Schools Alumni Association.


University Trustee Thomas J. Pritzker, MBA’76, JD’76, is executive chairman of the board of directors of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and formerly served as Hyatt’s chairman and chief executive officer. He also is chairman and CEO of the Pritzker Organization LLC, the principal financial and investment adviser to certain Pritzker family business interests. Pritzker further serves as chairman of the board of the Art Institute of Chicago, and as a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. As a philanthropist he is a director and vice president of the Pritzker Foundation, director and president of the Pritzker Family Philanthropic Fund, and chairman and president of the Hyatt Foundation, which established the Pritzker Architecture Prize.


University Trustee John W. Rogers Jr., Lab’76, is chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments LLC, which he founded in 1983 to focus on undervalued small and medium-sized companies. He serves as a board member of the Exelon Corporation and of McDonald’s Corporation. Following the election of President Barack Obama, he served as co-chair for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009. He currently chairs the board of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and serves as a director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Rogers’ recognitions include Princeton University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented annually to the alumnus whose career embodies a commitment to national service.

University of Chicago alumni who have been elected members of the Academy this year are: Catherine L. Albanese, AM’70, PhD’72; Susan Claire Alberts, SM’92, PhD’92; Michael P. Brenner, PhD’94; John B. Cobb Jr., AM’49, PhD’52; Nicholas Bernard Dirks, AM’74, PhD’81; Christopher L. M. Eisgruber, JD’88; Arthur I. Fine, SB’58, PhD’63; Adam Gamoran, AB’79, AM’79, PhD’84; Helen Hardacre, PhD’80; Michael S. McPherson, AB’67; William M. Reddy III, AM’70, PhD’74; George L. Priest, JD’73; Lee H. Rosenthal, AB’74, JD’77; Gigliola Staffilani, SM’91, PhD’95; and Manuel Arellano, AM’00.