UW News

April 23, 2009

Six in UW community named Fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Six members of the UW community — active and retired — are among 210 new Fellows named this week to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. The UW tied for first among public universities for new academy fellows.

David Baker, biochemistry; William Gerberding, president emeritus; Andrew Meltzoff, psychology; Ed Miles, marine affairs; James Truman, biology (emeritus) and Gunther Uhlmann, mathematics join one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a center for independent policy research. The UW is tied (with UCLA) for first among public universities in the number of Fellows elected.

Members of the academy are leaders in the sciences, the humanities and the arts, business, public affairs and the nonprofit sector.

David Baker, professor of biochemistry and adjunct professor of bioengineering and genome sciences, has been at the UW for 15 years. He holds a doctorate from the University of California Berkeley and focuses his research on predicting the structures of naturally occurring proteins and designing new proteins with new and useful functions.

William Gerberding was the president of the UW from 1979 until 1995, when he retired. He earned his doctorate in political science at the University of Chicago and taught at UCLA for 11 years before beginning his career in administration. Gerberding’s tenure as president saw an increase in public and private support — including the University’s first major fund drive — and the building of UW Tacoma and UW Bothell. He was a leader in higher education nationally, serving as chair of the Association of American Universities.

Andrew Meltzoff holds the Job and Gertrud Tamaki Endowed Chair in psychology and is the co-director of the UW Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. He came to the UW in 1977 after earning his doctorate at Oxford University. Meltzoff addresses core issues in human learning and development. He has done ground-breaking work on cognitive, social-emotional, and neural responses in preverbal children and has made fundamental discoveries about how humans develop the unique capacity to understand others as goal-directed entities. His scientific experiments highlight the age period from 0-5 years as important for setting the foundations of lifelong learning.

Ed Miles is a professor of marine affairs and public affairs and adjunct professor of aquatic & fishery sciences. He earned his doctorate in international relations and political science at the University of Denver, but since then has become a hybrid, learning something about oceanography, fisheries science, and climate impacts science. His research interests include international law and organization, international science and technology policy, marine policy and ocean management and the impacts of climate variability and climate change. He has been at the UW since 1974.

James Truman is a professor emeritus of biology. Truman earned his doctoral degree from Harvard University and was a junior fellow at Harvard from 1970 until 1973, when he came to the UW as an assistant professor. He became a full professor in 1978. He became an emeritus professor in 2007 and is now a group leader at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Va., where his research focuses on insect endocrinology and neurobiology.

Gunther Uhlmann is a professor of mathematics who has been at the UW since 1984. Uhlmann works on inverse problems — problems in which one attempts to determine the internal parameters of a medium by making measurements at the boundary or at the exterior of the medium. Another recent area of interest has been cloaking, which deals with the question of how to make objects invisible to electromagnetic waves, sound waves and other types of waves. Uhlmann earned his doctorate at MIT.

In addition, Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense and the UW Commencement speaker, also was named a fellow.

This year’s Fellows come from 28 states and 11 countries and range in age from 33 to 83. They represent universities, museums, national laboratories, private research institutes, businesses, and foundations. This year’s group also includes Nobel laureates and recipients of the Pulitzer and Pritzker prizes, MacArthur Fellowships, Academy, Grammy, and Tony awards, and the National Medal of Arts.

The Academy, established in 1780 by founders of the nation, undertakes studies of complex and emerging problems. Current projects focus on science, technology and global security; social policy and American institutions; the humanities and culture; and education. The Academy’s membership of scholars and practitioners from many disciplines and professions gives it a unique capacity to conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary, long-term policy research.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 10, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.