Three faculty members elected to American Philosophical Society

Three UChicago faculty members have been elected to the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States.

They are Lorraine Daston, visiting professor in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought; Neil H. Shubin, the Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy; and Michael S. Turner, the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor.

Also among the 32 newly elected members, announced May 1, are alumni Barbara Newman, AM’76, professor at Northwestern University; and Beth A. Simmons, AM’82, professor at the University of Pennsylvania; as well as former President Barack Obama, a former senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School; and architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, who designed the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts and were selected to design the Obama Presidential Center.

Lorraine Daston is an American historian of science and an expert on early-modern European scientific and intellectual history who has written on the history of probability theory, objectivity and scientific observation. Her recent research has centered on the history of rules, including the rise of a rationality based in algorithms.

Daston is director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany, but spends a three-month period at UChicago, where she teaches seminars on topics at the intersection between the history of science, philosophy, and social theory.

She serves on the editorial board of the humanistic journal Critical Inquiry, in which a number of her scholarly articles have been published. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was inducted into the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2010.

Neil H. Shubin has conducted landmark research on the evolutionary origin of anatomical features of animals. He has conducted fieldwork in much of North America, including Greenland, as well as China, Africa and Antarctica. One of his most significant discoveries, a 375-million-year-old fossil called Tiktaalik roseae, is an important transitional form between fish and land animals.

Shubin has written two popular science books: the best-selling Your Inner Fish (2008), named best book of the year by the National Academy of Sciences and made into an Emmy Award-winning PBS series; and The Universe Within: The Deep History of the Human Body (2013).

He serves as associate dean for academic strategy in the Biological Sciences Division and a senior adviser to President Robert J. Zimmer. Shubin is also the co-interim director of the UChicago-affiliated Marine Biological Laboratory, where he’s played a key role in supporting education and research programs. Shubin is a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Michael S. Turner is a theoretical cosmologist who helped to pioneer the interdisciplinary field that combines particle astrophysics and cosmology. His research focuses on the earliest moments of creation, and he has made seminal contributions to theories surrounding dark matter, dark energy and inflation. A former chair of UChicago’s Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Turner currently serves as director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics.

Turner chaired the National Research Council’s Committee on the Physics of the Universe, which published the influential report, “Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos.” He previously served as assistant director for mathematical and physical sciences at the National Science Foundation, the chief scientist of Argonne National Laboratory and the president of the American Physical Society.

Turner is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received numerous honors, including the 2010 Dannie Heineman Prize for pioneering cosmological physics research from the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics, and was selected by the University of Chicago to deliver the 2013 Ryerson Lecture.