Five Columbia Faculty Members Inducted to the American Association for the Advancement of Science

February 11, 2014

Five Columbia faculty members have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society.

Arnold L. Gordon (Ph. D '65), professor of oceanography and Associate Director of the Division of Ocean & Climate Physics at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, was honored for novel contributions to understanding ocean circulation, the role of the ocean in climate variability, and his leadership in international collaboration in ocean sciences. As a member of the department of earth and environmental science, his research is focused on oceanic stratification, circulation and mixing -- and how that impacts Earth's climate system.

Klaus S. Lackner, Maurice Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel professor of geophysics, was awarded for his groundbreaking innovations in the fields of sustainable energy and carbon management. At Columbia's School of Engineering, he has been focusing on carbon capture and storage, mineral sequestration, zero emission coal plants, carbon electrochemistry, and the study of large-scale energy infrastructures. Lackner, director of Columbia’s Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, also helped develop a revolutionary carbon capture system that trapps carbon dioxide which can later be freed and converted into a synthetic fuel or disposed of through geologic and mineral sequestration.

Andrew J. Millis, professor of physics, was recognized for his research on the electronic properties of newly discovered materials with potentially useful properties such as superconductivity, or the ability to conduct electricity with no resistance. Millis, a theoretical physicist whose work lies at the intersection of quantum mechanics and materials science, has recently focused on developing new ideas and methods for performing computational research. He was department chair from 2006-2009.

Philip Protter, professor of statistics, was made a AAAS Fellow in recognition of his distinguished and innovative contributions to the analysis of stochastic integration and differential equations, and for his work in mathematical finance that can be used to help to understand the workings of our modern economy. A fellow of the I.M.S. and the associate editor of nine research journals, he serves on two editorial boards and authored or co-authored two textbooks and two research books. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Stochastic Processes and their Applications. His primary research interests include mathematical finance, stochastic theory, Markov process theory and filtering theory.

Walter Pitman (Ph. D '67), special lecturer in earth and environmental sciences, was recognized for his pivotal role in the development and acceptance of the theory of plate tectonics in the field of geology and geography. His current research interests involve past sea-level changes, both short- and long-term, their causes and their effects on the sedimentary record, climate change and human history.

The five Columbians will be among 388 fellows awarded at a ceremony on February 15, 2014 in Chicago.

Founded in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journals "Science, Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling."