Fields Medal recipient among 8 honored professors

Faculty named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences come from diverse range of disciplines.

By Jon Catlin

Eight U of C faculty were among 220 academics elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an interdisciplinary research organization, last Tuesday.

The Chicago professors, specializing in a wide range of disciplines including music and mathematics, join an academic body of more than 4,000 scholars from around the country.

“Election to the Academy is both an honor for extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve,” Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz said, as reported by the University News Office. “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.”

Founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and other foundational figures to recognize scholarly excellence, the Academy now serves as one of the nation’s leading policy research centers. Its notable former members include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Winston Churchill, and Albert Einstein.

Among the U of C’s Fellows is Ngô Bao Châu, Francis and Rose Yuen distinguished service professor of mathematics. Ngô won the prestigious Fields Medal in 2010 for solving a long-vexing problem in the Langlands program, an ambitious unified theory encompassing several areas of mathematics.

On the other end of the quad in the Department of Music, world-renowned contemporary composer Augusta Read Thomas, university professor of composition in music and the College, also was elected to the Academy. Classical vocal ensemble Chanticleer won a Grammy in 2000 for their album, “Colors of Love,” which featured two of Thomas’s compositions. Martha Feldman, chair of the Department of Music and a historian of Italian music, was elected as well.

The University’s professional schools also had several faculty appointed.

From the Booth School of Business, microeconomics professor Marianne Bertrand, whose research has included work on racial discrimination and CEO compensation, and Luigi Zingales, who co-founded the Financial Trust Index, which tracks consumer faith in private financial institutions, joined the academy.

Meanwhile, the Divinity School’s Bruce Lincoln, a sitting member on the Committee on Medieval Studies, and Paul Mendes-Flohr, a professor of modern Jewish history, also were elected, as was the Law School’s David Weisbach.