American Association for the Advancement of Science elects four UChicago fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science awarded the distinction of fellow to four University of Chicago faculty members earlier this year because of their efforts to advance science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.

The newly elected fellows from Chicago are Sian Beilock, associate professor in psychology; Jean Decety, the Irving B. Harris Professor in Psychology and Psychiatry; Rustem Ismagilov, professor in chemistry; and Susan Kidwell, the William Rainey Harper Professor in Geophysical Sciences.

Also among the 503 AAAS 2010 fellows are Argonne National Laboratory’s John Carpenter and Walter Henning, and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s Paul Mackenzie. UChicago operates the labs for the U.S. Department of Energy through the UChicago Argonne LLC and Fermi Research Alliance, LLC.

Beilock was cited “for distinguished contributions to the field of psychology, particularly for research on individual differences, stereotypes, learning, and memory.”

Beilock examines the cognitive processes governing skilled performance(and its failure) across different performance environments and expertise levels. She is the author of Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To (2010, Simon & Schuster).

Decety was cited “for his seminal neurophysiological studies of the brain’s role in empathy, sympathy, and social cognitive disorders.”

Decety’s work has led to new understandings of empathy and affective processes in typically developing individuals as well as in children with aggressive conduct disorder and psychopaths. He is co-founder of the Society for Social Neuroscience, heads UChicago’s Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory and co-directs the Medical Center’s Brain Research Imaging Center. Decety also is editor of the journal Social Neuroscience.

Ismagilov was cited “for developing microfluidic tools for studying chemical reactions that will lead to understanding how non-linearities in complex networks control dynamics in space and time.”

Ismagilov specializes in understanding and controlling complex chemical and biological systems at critical times and locations using microfluidics, the flow of fluids through channels thinner than a human hair. Thomson Reuters recently ranked Ismagilov among the top 100 most influential chemists in the world based on citation impact scores for chemistry papers published from 2000 to 2010.

Kidwell was cited “for distinguished contributions to the field of paleobiology, particularly for taphonomic and paleoecological studies of marine ecosystems.”

Kidwell analyzes the physical and biological processes that determine the quality of the fossil record, which is revealing how data and theories from
paleontology can be used to solve problems in conservation biology. Among other honors, Kidwell has received the Paleontological Society’s Charles Schuchert Award, and she is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.