Six Columbia Faculty Members Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Six Columbia professors have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, joining some of the world’s most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts in one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies.
John Stratton Hawley, professor of religion at Barnard College, is an expert on the religious life of north India and on the literature that it has spawned in the course of the last 500 years. Most of the 15 books he has written or edited concern Hinduism and the religions of India. His current major project—a book called India's Real Religion: The Idea of the Bhakti Movement—is devoted to deconstructing and reconstructing one of the principal ways in which Indians have told their religious history. A member of Barnard’s faculty since 1986, he was director of Columbia's South Asia Institute and has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. He has also been a Guggenheim Fellow.
Donald C. Hood, the James F. Bender professor of psychology and ophthalmic science, is an expert on visual perception and processing. His lab studies the vision of both healthy individuals and those with diseases of the retina and the ganglion cell/optic nerve. Among the courses he teaches are “Issues in Brain and Behavior” and the “Frontiers of Science” course that is part of the Core Curriculum.
John D. Huber is a professor of political science and chair of the political science department. His teaching and research focus on the comparative study of democratic processes and he has written extensively on legislative organization, representation, bureaucracy and ethnic politics, among other topics. He is the author, with Charles R. Shipan, of Deliberate Discretion? Institutional Foundations of Bureaucratic Autonomy, which was honored by the comparative politics section of the American Political Science Association as the best book in comparative politics in 2002.
Hervé Jacquet, professor emeritus of mathematics, is a leader in the field of representation theory and automorphic functions and his research plays a central role in modern number theory. He earned his Ph.D. from the prestigious École Normale Supérieure in Paris and joined the Columbia faculty in 1974. He is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and a corresponding member of the Académie des Sciences.
Duong H. Phong, professor of mathematics and director of graduate studies in the department of mathematics, is an expert in complex geometry and analysis as well as mathematical physics. He earned his Ph.D. from Princeton. The American Mathematical Society is hosting a conference in Phong’s honor this month.
Barbara G. Tversky, professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, is an internationally recognized cognitive psychologist whose expertise includes spatial language and thinking, event perception and cognition, and gesture. She teaches courses in spatial thinking, including its relation to language and math, cognitive psychology, and visual communication. She has helped create a growing field that posits that physical gesture corresponds with and can enhance different kinds of thought processes.
Since its founding in 1780, the American Academy Arts and Sciences has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.
“Election to the Academy honors individual accomplishment and calls upon members to serve the public good,” said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”
The six Columbians will be among 198 new members inducted at a ceremony on October 12, 2013, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
—by Georgette Jasen
Columbia University mourns the death of Robert Belknap, professor emeritus in the Department of Slavic Languages, who died March 17. An expert in Russian literature, particularly Dostoyevsky, he also taught Literature Humanities in the Core Curriculum for 50 years and influenced generations of Columbia students. For more information, please visit this page.
Mary Bassett, associate professor of clinical epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, was named New York City’s commissioner of health.
University Professor Ronald Breslow won the 2014 American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal, the AIC’s highest award.