Four faculty members elected to American Association for the Advancement of Science

Four University of Chicago faculty members are among 539 individuals elected 2011 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The AAAS council recognizes these individuals for their contributions to science and technology at the Fellows Forum held each year during the AAAS Annual Meeting. The new fellows receive a certificate and a blue and gold rosette as a symbol of their distinguished accomplishments.

The University of Chicago fellows are:

Graeme Bell, the Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor in Medicine and Human Genetics, is being recognized for seminal contributions in the characterization of the genetic component to various forms of diabetes, leading to improvements in patients' lives.

A molecular biologist and geneticist, Bell is the leading authority on the genetics of diabetes. He studies the causes of diabetes, discovering gene mutations directly related to different forms of diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the Swedish Medical Society and the British Diabetic Association have all honored Bell for his research. In 1998 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and in 2008 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Laurie Butler, Professor in Chemistry, was cited “for distinguished contributions to the field of physical chemistry, particularly for elegant experimental studies of chemical reaction dynamics of radical and molecular species.”

Butler investigates the fundamental inter- and intramolecular forces that drive the course of chemical reactions. She uses a combination of molecular beam reactive scattering and laser spectroscopic techniques to probe detailed molecular dynamics during bimolecular, unimolecular, and excited state chemical reactions.

Butler was named a 2011 fellow of the American Chemical Society earlier this year.

Richard Jordan, Professor in Chemistry, was cited “for fundamental studies of transition metal alkyl and alkene complexes that have led to deeper understanding of metal catalyzed alkene polymerization.”

A specialist in organometallic and inorganic chemistry, Jordan is interested in the design, synthesis and study of reactive organotransition metal complexes and the application of these compounds in catalysis, olefin polymerization and organic synthesis.

Jordan has made fundamental contributions to the development of metallocene catalysts, which are revolutionizing the polyolefins industry.

Michael Silverstein, the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor in Anthropology, Linguistics and Psychology, was recognized for his distinguished contributions to linguistic anthropology and the semiotics of communication, based on his work on indigenous languages and cultures of North America and Australia, and on processes of communication in contemporary American society.

Silverstein’s theoretical contributions to anthropology, linguistics and psychology range from modeling the flow of meanings communicated during verbal interaction to the role of language as a medium as well as focus of cultural ideologies.

The work is based on long-term studies of the indigenous languages and cultures of North America and of Australia, and of the contemporary sociocultural forces on American English, which he has been studying in the framework of linguistic anthropology.

In addition to his own widely published technical papers, Silverstein, along with his students and other collaborators, has published a series of works based on his research, including Natural Histories of Discourse (University of Chicago Press, 1996). His Creatures of Politics: Media, Message and the American Presidency (Indiana University Press) is due out this summer.