Eight UChicago faculty members named American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellows

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced its 2012 class of fellows on Tuesday, April 17. Eight University of Chicago faculty members have been elected to the Academy and are among 220 new fellows. The newly elected members are:

Marianne Bertrand, the Chris P. Dialynas Professor of Economics and the Richard N. Rosett Faculty Fellow in the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Martha Feldman, the Mabel Greene Myers Professor of Music and the Humanities in the College and Chair of Music; Bruce Lincoln, the Caroline E. Haskell Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Committee on Medieval Studies; Paul Mendes-Flohr, the Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor in the Divinity School and the Committee on Jewish Studies, and associate faculty in History; Ngô Bao Châu, the Francis and Rose Yuen Distinguished Service Professor of Mathematics; Augusta Read Thomas, University Professor of Composition in Music and the College; David A. Weisbach, the Walter J. Blum Professor of Law; and Luigi G. Zingales, the Robert C. McCormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


The Chicago scholars join one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy studies of science and technology policy, global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities, and education.

“Election to the Academy is both an honor for extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve,” said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”

Marianne Bertrand is an applied microeconomist who has done research on racial discrimination, CEO pay and incentives, the effects of regulation on employment, and household finance, among other topics. Her research has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Political Economy, the American Economic Review, the Journal of Finance and several public policy journals.   

She received the 2004 Elaine Bennett Research Prize, awarded by the American Economic Association to honor outstanding research in any field of economics by a woman at the beginning of her career. She received an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in 2003. 

Bertrand is a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Center for Economic Policy Research and the Institute for the Study of Labor.

She received earned a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard in 1998 and joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 2000, after spending two years teaching at Princeton University.

Martha Feldman studies European vernacular musics of the 16th- to 20th centuries. 

Her 2007 book on 18th-century opera and European political change, Opera and Sovereignty: Transforming Myths in Eighteenth-Century Italy, received the Gordon J. Laing Prize from the University of Chicago Press.

Feldman’s next book, The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds (University of California Press, forthcoming), based on her 2007 Ernest Bloch lectures at the University of California, Berkeley, explores the cultural status of castrated singers who performed in Europe into the 19th Century.

Her other publications include City Culture and the Madrigal at Venice (1995), which received the Bainton Prize from the Sixteenth-Century Studies Conference, and The Courtesan’s Arts: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (2006), recipient of the Ruth A. Solie Prize from the American Musicological Society.

Feldman received the 2001 Dent Medal from the Royal Music Association for her outstanding contributions to musicology. She also is a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2009 UChicago Graduate Teaching Award recipient.

Bruce Lincoln’s research interests include the religions of pre-Christian Europe and pre-Islamic Iran, as well as African, Melanesian, and Native American traditions.

He is the author of Religion, Empire, and Torture: The Case of Achaemenian Persia, Holy Terrors: Thinking about Religion after September 11 and Theorizing Myth: Narrative Ideology, and Scholarship, which received the Gordon J. Laing Prize from the University of Chicago Press and the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion.

His latest book, Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars: Critical Explorations in the History of Religions, which calls for a more critical approach to the study of religious history, will be released this month by the University of Chicago Press.

Lincoln has taught courses on a wide range of subjects, including sacred dances among the Plains Indians, the Spanish Civil War and the theology of George W. Bush.

He received his Ph.D. from the University in 1976, and joined the faculty in 1993.

Paul Mendes-Flohr is a leading scholar on modern Jewish thought and intellectual history.

An expert on the works of the German-Jewish religious philosopher Martin Buber, Mendes-Flohr is currently at work on a biography of Buber, which will be published by Yale University Press.

He is the author of German Jews: A Dual Identity, which explores the complex cultural loyalties of German Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mendes-Flohr’s other works include The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History (with Jehuda Reinharz), Progress and its Discontents, and Divided Passions: Jewish Intellectuals and the Experience of Modernity.

He is the editor of A Land of Two Peoples: Martin Buber on Jews and Arabs, published by the University of Chicago Press. Mendes-Flohr also is editor-in-chief, with Bernd Witte, of the 21-volume critical edition of Martin Buber’s writings in German. 

Mendes-Flohr joined the UChicago faculty in 2000, after teaching for 30 years at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received his PhD from Brandeis University.

Ngô Bao Châu has made decisive advances in modern mathematics on the frontier of number theory and representation theory.

In 2009, Ngô developed a proof of the fundamental lemma of the Langlands Program, which mathematicians had unsuccessfully tried to resolve for three decades. In mathematical terms, a “lemma” refers to a formulation that is needed to solve a larger problem. Time magazine listed this work as one of the top 10 scientific discoveries of 2009.

Ngô's honors include the 2010 Fields Medal, Oberwolfach Prize, Prix Sophie Germain de l’Academie des Sciences de Paris and Clay Research Award. The Fields Medal is regarded as the highest professional honor that a mathematician can attain.

He also has delivered invited addresses to the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2006 and 2010. As a high school student in 1988 and 1989, he received gold medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad.

Augusta Read Thomas is among the nation’s most respected contemporary composers. Her work has been performed by prominent ensembles, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the National Symphony. She served as the Mead Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1997-2006.

Last June, her “Violin Concerto #3” premiered at the Kennedy Center. The Boston Symphony has commissioned “Cello Concerto #3,” which will premiere in March 2013.

Thomas’ many honors include recognition from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Siemens Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. “Colors of Love,” a Chanticleer album featuring two of Thomas’ compositions, received a Grammy Award in 2000. Her double concerto Astral Canticle was one of two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2007. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2009.

Thomas studied composition at Tanglewood, Northwestern, Yale and the Royal Academy of Music. She previously taught composition at the Eastman School of Music, where she is now on the Eastman National Council Board. She is a Member of the exclusive Conseil Musical de la Foundation Prince Pierre de Monaco.

Legal scholar David A. Weisbach studies issues relating to federal taxation and to climate change policy.

His tax work has focused on issues related to the design of tax system, the choice of the tax base, and the proper response to tax shelters.

Weisbach’s work on climate policy has been focused on the role of international treaties in implementing carbon controls, including the role of justice in a climate change treaty, the effects of unilateral carbon controls, and the possibilities for linking climate controls across nations.

In addition to being the Walter J. Blum Professor of Law, he is a Senior Fellow at the Computation Institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory and was formerly the director of the Program in Law and Economics.

David Weisbach received a Masters in Advance Study (Mathematics) from Wolfson College, Cambridge in 1986 and a JD from Harvard Law School in 1989. He joined the UChicago Law School faculty in 1998.

Luigi Zingales studies a wide variety of topics ranging from corporate governance and financial development to the political economy and economic effects of culture. His latest book, A Capitalism for the People, Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity, is scheduled to be published on June 6.

Zingales co-developed the Financial Trust Index, which monitors the level of trust that Americans have toward the financial system. He is vice president of the American Finance Association, a faculty research fellow for the National Bureau of Economic Research, a research fellow for the Center for Economic Policy Research, and a fellow of the European Governance Institute.  He also serves on the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation.

He received the 2003 Bernacer Prize for the best young European financial economist, the 2002 Nasdaq ward for the best paper on capital formation, and a National Science Foundation grant in economics. His research has been published in all the major economic and finance academic journals.

Zingales received a Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1992. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1992.

Members of the 2012 class include winners of the National Medal of Science, the Lasker Award, the Pulitzer and the Shaw prizes, the Fields Medal; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; theKennedy Center Honors; Grammy,Emmy, Academy, and Tony awards; the Avery Fisher Prize, and election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The new Fellows will be inducted at a ceremony Oct. 6, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

An alphabetical list of the 220 new members is located at: http://www.amacad.org/news/alphalist2012.pdf. The new class listed by discipline is located at: http://www.amacad.org/news/classlist2012.pdf.