Five Columbians Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Membership in the academy is considered one of the highest honors a scientist can receive.

May 02, 2024

Five Columbia professors—Scott Barrett, Jessica Fanzo, Oliver Hobert, Arthur G. Palmer, and Duong H. Phong—were elected this week to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which recognizes distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. 

Scott Barrett

Scott Barrett. Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics. Scott Barrett is a leading scholar on transnational and global challenges, ranging from climate change to disease eradication, biodiversity conservation to ocean governance. His research focuses on how institutions like customary law and treaties can be used to promote international cooperation. He has advised a number of international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the OECD, the European Commission, and the International Task Force on Global Public Goods. He was previously a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a member of the Academic Panel to the Department of Environment in the U.K.

Jessica Fanzo

Jessica Fanzo. Professor of Climate. Jessica Fanzo is a professor of Climate and director of the Food for Humanity Initiative at the Columbia Climate School. Her research focuses on the transdisciplinary field of food systems and the linkages between agriculture, health, and the environment in climate-impacted countries that have limited resources. She has 20 years of experience working in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia on the diversity and quality of diets, nutrition, and health outcomes, environmental sustainability, and climate adaptation. She was the first laureate of the Carasso Foundation’s Sustainable Diets Prize in 2012 for her research on sustainable food and diets for long-term human health.

Oliver Hobert

Oliver Hobert. Professor of Biological Sciences and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Oliver Hobert is a professor in the Columbia University Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and holds an interdisciplinary faculty position in the Department of Systems Biology. His laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms responsible for generating the remarkable diversity of cell types found in the nervous system. Using C. elegans as a model system, his laboratory has revealed the regulatory mechanisms that control terminal neuronal identity and demonstrated that these mechanisms are conserved in chordates. 

Arthur G. Palmer

Arthur G. Palmer III. Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Arthur Palmer is professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and associate dean for Graduate Affairs at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. His laboratory uses NMR spectroscopy to study the structures and dynamical properties of proteins and other macromolecules. His laboratory has developed NMR methods for characterizing rare structural states of macromolecules that are important in diverse biological processes, including enzyme catalysis and molecular recognition. He is a co-author of the textbook Protein NMR Spectroscopy: Principles and Practice, which is used widely for graduate student and postdoctoral-level training. He joined Columbia in 1992.

Duong H. Phong

Duong H. Phong. Professor of Mathematics. Duong Phong has made important contributions to string theory, partial differential equations, complex geometry, and complex analysis. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a 2021 fellow of the American Mathematical Society. He was awarded the 2009 Stefan Bergman Prize for his fundamental contributions to the study of operators related to the d-bar Neumann problem. He joined Columbia in 1978.