Five UChicago faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences in 2022

Five University of Chicago scholars have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, joining other scientists and researchers chosen in “recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Profs. Juan de Pablo, Joshua Frieman, Young-Kee Kim, Susan Stokes and Andrei Tokmakoff are among the 120 new members elected this year. Also included in the May 3 announcement was the addition of 30 international non-voting members.

Juan de Pablo is the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering and the Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories, and Global Initiatives. 

A prominent materials scientist, de Pablo’s research focuses on polymers, biological macromolecules such as proteins and DNA, glasses, and liquid crystals, a diverse class of materials widely used in many fields of engineering. He is also a leader in developing molecular models and computer simulations of complex molecular processes over wide ranges of length and time scales. He heads a research group that develops advanced algorithms to design and predict the structure and properties of complex fluids and solids at a molecular level, and has been a pioneer in the use of data-driven machine learning approaches for materials design. 

He is the author or coauthor of well over 600 publications and a textbook on molecular engineering thermodynamics. He holds more than 25 patents on multiple technologies and has been involved in several startup companies.

In his role as Executive Vice President, he helps drive and support the expanding reach of the University’s science, technology, and innovation efforts, along with their connection to policy and industry. 

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry, and is a foreign correspondent member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences.

Joshua Frieman is a professor of astronomy & astrophysics and a senior member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at UChicago and was a Distinguished Scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. His research focuses on theoretical and observational cosmology, including studies of the nature of dark energy, the early universe, gravitational lensing, the large-scale structure of the universe and supernovae as cosmological distance indicators.

Frieman is a co-founder and former director of the Dark Energy Survey, an international collaboration of more than 400 scientists from 25 institutions on three continents that is investigating why the expansion of the universe is accelerating. The collaboration built a 570-megapixel camera for the four-meter Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile and used it to conduct a six-year survey of several hundred million galaxies. Previously Frieman led the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Supernova Survey, which discovered more than 500 type Ia supernovae for cosmological studies.

Frieman is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Astronomical Society, and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Young-Kee Kim is the Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor of Physics. She is an experimental particle physicist, and devotes much of her research to understanding the origin of mass for fundamental particles. 

She has been chair of the UChicago Department of Physics since 2016 and is the Senior Advisor to the Provost for Global Scientific Initiatives. Between 2004 and 2006, she co-led the Collider Detector at Fermilab experiment, a collaboration with more than 600 particle physicists from around the world. She is currently working on the ATLAS particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, as well as on accelerator physics research. She was elected future president of the American Physical Society beginning in 2024. 

She served as deputy director of Fermilab between 2006 and 2013; chaired the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society in 2020; and will serve the Korean American Scientists and Engineers Association as president in 2022. She also chairs a department that is very engaged with the University’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Kim is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Sloan Foundation.

Susan Stokes is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science. A leading scholar of democratic theory, Stokes is also a founding member of Bright Line Watch and as faculty director of the Chicago Center on Democracy.

Her research interests include democratic theory and how democracy functions in developing societies; distributive politics; and comparative political behavior. Stokes’ previous books include Why Bother?: Rethinking Participation in Elections and Protests (2019), Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism (2013), and Mandates and Democracy: Neoliberalism by Surprise in Latin America (2001).

Stokes is currently developing a book project, tentatively entitled Trash-Talking Democracy: How Would-Be Autocrats Attack Democratic Culture—And How to Rebuild It. The work will trace attacks on democratic culture in the United States and elsewhere in the world in recent decades, culminating in the onslaught of the Trump administration. She will explore factors that encourage politicians to turn away from divisive strategies and toward unifying ones, and how common citizens can inoculate themselves against partisan tribalism and false information.

Her work has been supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Science Foundation, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Fulbright Program, the American Philosophical Society and the Russell Sage Foundation. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Andrei Tokmakoff is the Henry G. Gale Distinguished Service Professor of Chemistry.

He studies the molecular dynamics of water, aqueous solutions, and bimolecular binding processes involving proteins and DNA. To do so, he works to develop advanced new vibrational spectroscopy methods.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Physical Society, and has received numerous awards, including the American Chemical Society 2016 Ellis R. Lippincott Award, the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology from the American Chemical Society, and the Optical Society of America 2014 Ernest Plyler Prize.

He served as chair of the UChicago Department of Chemistry from 2018 to 2021.