The American Academy of Arts and Sciences on April 12, 2017 announced the election of 228 new members. They include some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, as well as civic, business, and philanthropic leaders.
African novelist, Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie made the list of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, along with 227 new members.
In the announcement by the Academy of Arts and Science, Chimamanda was listed among 40 Foreign Honorary Members from 19 countries elected by the Academy.
Other foreigners honoured come from Australia, China, India, Japan, and Uganda.
Among them are scientist Ruth Arnon; chemist Clare Grey; vaccinologist Rino Rappuoli; former Health Minister for China Zhu Chen; archaeologist and expert on animal mummies Salima Ikram; Israeli novelist David Grossman; award-winning actor and activist Sir Ian McKellen; and president of the Foundation for Worldwide Cooperation and former prime minister of Italy Romano Prodi.
The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 7, 2017, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Among the people elected are some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, as well as civic, business, and philanthropic leaders. They will all form the 237th class of the academy.
Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centres, convening leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing—and opportunities available to—the nation and the world. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies in science, engineering, and technology policy; global security and international affairs; the humanities, arts, and education; and American institutions and the public good.
Members of the 2017 class include winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Wolf Prize; MacArthur Fellows; Fields Medalists; Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts recipients; and Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award winners.
“It is an honor to welcome this new class of exceptional women and men as part of our distinguished membership,” said Don Randel, Chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “Their talents and expertise will enrich the life of the Academy and strengthen our capacity to spread knowledge and understanding in service to the nation.”
“In a tradition reaching back to the earliest days of our nation, the honor of election to the American Academy is also a call to service,” said Academy President Jonathan F. Fanton. “Through our projects, publications, and events, the Academy provides members with opportunities to make common cause and produce the useful knowledge for which the Academy’s 1780 charter calls.”
Scientific leaders in the new class include: Fields Medalist Maryam Mirzakhani, who has done path-breaking work on the geometry of Teichmüller spaces and hyperbolic Riemann surfaces; astrophysicist Gabriela Gonzalez, an expert in the field of gravitation wave physics; engineer Ann Lee, who works on the development of anti-cancer therapeutics; computer scientist Daniela Rus, who built some of the first Web crawling agents that were able to search for structured data inside documents.
There are also mathematician and Fields Medalist Manjul Bhargava, a leader in number theory; structural biologist Jaime Cate, who transformed the understanding of protein synthesis; neurologist Helen Mayberg, who utilizes a multidisciplinary neural systems approach to study depression and recovery; immunologist James Allison, whose research is being used to develop new strategies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and for immunotherapy of cancer; and evolutionary plant biologist Pamela Soltis.
Social scientists in the new class include: psychologist Michael Tomasello, a widely cited scholar of comparative studies of humans and great apes; economist Marc Melitz, who developed a new approach to the analysis of international trade; political scientist Janet Box-Steffensmeier, a scholar of American politics and methodology; attorney William Lee, a leading thinker and lawyer in the field of intellectual property; and cultural anthropologistCaroline Brettell, whose research focuses on international migration, specifically the issues of gender and personal narrative in the study of the migrant experience.
In the humanities and the arts, new members include: philosopher Jonathan Lear, known for his work on Aristotle’s logical theory; historian Naomi Oreskes, who studies scientific debate and climate change; award-winning actress Carol Burnett; linguist John Rickford, who examines the history and structure of creole languages; Lincoln Center artistic director and producer André Bishop; Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Lynn Nottage, who writes about the lives of women of African descent; and John Guy, curator of South and Southeast Asian art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Leaders in philanthropy, business, public affairs, public policy, and journalism include: journalist Jane Mayer, staff writer for The New Yorker; Pulitzer Prize–winning multimedia journalist Mark Trahant; David Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma; Grammy and Academy Award–winning singer-songwriter and philanthropist John Legend; private equity and venture capitalist Gerald Chan; philanthropist and economist Marie-Josée Kravis; Boston Symphony Orchestra Managing Director Mark Volpe; and Cheryl Dorsey, president of Echoing Green.
In March, Chimamanda was also elected into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the second Nigerian to be so honoured, after Professor Wole Soyinka. She will be inducted in May.