The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest learned societies in the United States. Founded in 1780, the Academy is dedicated to honoring excellence and leadership, working across disciplines and divides, and advancing the common good.
Membership in the academy is achieved through a thorough petition, review, and election process and has been considered a high honor of scholarly and societal merit ever since the academy was founded during the American Revolution by John Adams, John Hancock, James Bowdoin, and others of their contemporaries who contributed prominently to the establishment of the new nation, its government, and the United States Constitution.
Today the Academy is charged with a dual function: to elect to membership the finest minds and most influential leaders, drawn from science, scholarship, business, public affairs, and the arts, from each generation, and to conduct policy studies in response to the needs of society. Major Academy projects now have focused on higher education and research, humanities and cultural studies, scientific and technological advances, politics, population and the environment, and the welfare of children. Dædalus, the Academy's quarterly journal, is widely regarded as one of the world's leading intellectual journals.
The Academy carries out nonpartisan policy research by bringing together scientists, scholars, artists, policymakers, business leaders, and other experts to make multidisciplinary analyses of complex social, political, and intellectual topics. The Academy's current areas of work are Arts & Humanities, Democracy & Justice, Education, Energy & Environment, Global Affairs, and Science & Technology.
David W. Oxtoby began his term as the organization’s president in January 2019. A chemist by training, he served as President of Pomona College from 2003 to 2017. He was elected a member of the American Academy in 2012.
The Academy is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
|American Academy of Arts and Sciences|
American Academy of Arts and Sciences logo
|Formation||May 4, 1780|
|Type||Honorary society and independent research center|
|Headquarters||Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|more than 5,700 active members, across the United Stated and around the world|
The Academy was established by the Massachusetts legislature on May 4, 1780. Its purpose, as described in its charter, is "to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people." The sixty-two incorporating fellows represented varying interests and high standing in the political, professional, and commercial sectors of the state. The first class of new members, chosen by the Academy in 1781, included Benjamin Franklin and George Washington as well as several international honorary members. The initial volume of Academy Memoirs appeared in 1785, and the Proceedings followed in 1846. In the 1950s, the Academy launched its journal Daedalus, reflecting its commitment to a broader intellectual and socially-oriented program.
Since the second half of the twentieth century, independent research has become a central focus of the Academy. In the late 1950s, arms control emerged as one of its signature concerns. The Academy also served as the catalyst in establishing the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. In the late 1990s, the Academy developed a new strategic plan, focusing on four major areas: science, technology, and global security; social policy and education; humanities and culture; and education. In 2002, the Academy established a visiting scholars program in association with Harvard University. More than 75 academic institutions from across the country have become Affiliates of the Academy to support this program and other Academy initiatives.
Charter members of the Academy are John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Bacon, James Bowdoin, Charles Chauncy, John Clarke, David Cobb, Samuel Cooper, Nathan Cushing, Thomas Cushing, William Cushing, Tristram Dalton, Francis Dana, Samuel Deane, Perez Fobes, Caleb Gannett, Henry Gardner, Benjamin Guild, John Hancock, Joseph Hawley, Edward Augustus Holyoke, Ebenezer Hunt, Jonathan Jackson, Charles Jarvis, Samuel Langdon, Levi Lincoln, Daniel Little, Elijah Lothrup, John Lowell, Samuel Mather, Samuel Moody, Andrew Oliver, Joseph Orne, Theodore Parsons, George Partridge, Robert Treat Paine, Phillips Payson, Samuel Phillips, John Pickering, Oliver Prescott, Zedekiah Sanger, Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant, Micajah Sawyer, Theodore Sedgwick, William Sever, David Sewall, Stephen Sewall, John Sprague, Ebenezer Storer, Caleb Strong, James Sullivan, John Bernard Sweat, Nathaniel Tracy, Cotton Tufts, James Warren, Samuel West, Edward Wigglesworth, Joseph Willard, Abraham Williams, Nehemiah Williams, Samuel Williams, and James Winthrop.
From the beginning, the membership, nominated and elected by peers, has included not only scientists and scholars, but also writers and artists as well as representatives from the full range of professions and public life. Throughout the Academy's history, 10,000 fellows have been elected, including such notables as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John James Audubon, Joseph Henry, Washington Irving, Josiah Willard Gibbs, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Willa Cather, T. S. Eliot, Edward R. Murrow, Jonas Salk, Eudora Welty, and Duke Ellington.
International honorary members have included Jose Antonio Pantoja Hernandez, Leonhard Euler, Marquis de Lafayette, Alexander von Humboldt, Leopold von Ranke, Charles Darwin, Otto Hahn, Jawaharlal Nehru, Pablo Picasso, Liu Kuo-Sung (Liu Guosong), Lucian Michael Freud, Galina Ulanova, Werner Heisenberg, Alec Guinness and Sebastião Salgado.
The current membership encompasses over 5,700 members based across the United States and around the world. Academy members include more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.
The current membership is divided into five classes and twenty-four sections.
Class I – Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Class II – Biological Sciences
Class III – Social Sciences
Class IV – Arts and Humanities
Class V – Public affairs, business, and administration
Visiting Scholars Program: An interdisciplinary research fellowship at the Academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose purposes are to stimulate and support scholarly work by promising scholars and practitioners in the early stages of their careers, and to foster exchange between an emerging generation of scholars and Academy members with shared interests.
Hellman Fellowship in Science and Technology Policy: A research fellowship for early-career professionals with training in science or engineering who are interested in transitioning to careers in public policy and administration. While in residence at the Academy's headquarters, the Hellman Fellow works with senior scientists and policy experts on critical national and international policy issues related to science, engineering, and technology.
This award, founded in 2000, recognizes the extraordinary contributions of individuals who share the commitment of the Academy's founders, a group of patriots who devoted their lives to promoting the arts and sciences in service to the nation.
Established in the Academy's 225th anniversary year, this award honors men, women and institutions that have advanced the ideals of the Academy's founders, and that embody the founders's commitment to intellectual inquiry, leadership and active engagement.
Awarded since 1940, this prize recognizes major contributions to reproductive biology. It is supported by an endowment established by Mr. Francis Amory.
Established in 1958 for special recognition of distinguished achievement in the broad field of literature. Given at the discretion of the Council of the Academy on the recommendation of a nominating committee headed by Aniruddh Gyanchandane, the prize is awarded to a person for his or her total literary achievement rather than for a specific work.
Established in 1975 by the Council of the Academy in an attempt to ensure that superior humanistic scholarship, despite its lower visibility to the general reading public, receives appropriate recognition. It complements the Emerson-Thoreau Medal for achievement in literature. Both awards are administered by a single committee of seven Academy members.
Established in 1839, one of the oldest scientific prizes in the United States, recognizing contributions to the fields of heat and light (broadly interpreted). The award now consists of a silver-and-gold medal. The endowment was created by a bequest to the Academy from Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, in 1796.
First awarded in 1974, this prize was established to honor the noted sociologist and former president of the Academy, and is given for contributions to the social sciences (broadly defined). An effort is made to rotate the prize among social science disciplines, including law, history, and linguistics.
Presented for the first time in 2008, this prize recognizes emerging poets of exceptional promise and distinguished achievement. It was established to honor the memory of longtime Academy Fellow May Sarton, a poet, novelist, and teacher who encouraged young poets.
In 2014, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences was awarded the Arts and Sciences Advocacy Award from the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS). CCAS bestows this award upon an individual or organization demonstrating exemplary advocacy for the arts and sciences, flowing from a deep commitment to the intrinsic worth of liberal arts education.
A project of the Academy that equips researchers, policymakers, universities, foundations, museums, libraries, humanities councils, and other public institutions with statistical tools for answering basic questions about primary and secondary humanities education, undergraduate and graduate education in the humanities, the humanities workforce, levels and sources of program funding, public understanding and impact of the humanities, and other areas of concern in the humanities community. It is modeled on the Science and Engineering Indicators, published biennially by the National Science Board as required by Congress.
Andreas Acrivos (born 13 June 1928) is the Albert Einstein Professor of Science and Engineering, Emeritus at the City College of New York. He is also the director of the Benjamin Levich Institute for Physicochemical Hydrodynamics.Asahel Stearns
Asahel Stearns (June 17, 1774 – February 5, 1839) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.
Born in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, Stearns graduated from Harvard University in 1797. He studied law, was admitted to the bar and commenced the practice of law in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. He served as member of the Massachusetts Senate in 1813, the same year he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He moved to Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1815.
Stearns was elected as a Federalist to the Fourteenth Congress (March 4, 1815 – March 3, 1817). He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1817. He was professor of law at Harvard University from 1817 to 1829. He again served as a member of the Massachusetts Senate in 1830 and 1831. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 5, 1839. He was interred in Mount Auburn Cemetery.Berta Scharrer
Berta Vogel Scharrer (December 1, 1906 – July 23, 1995) was a German-born American scientist who helped to found the scientific discipline now known as neuroendocrinology.Daedalus (journal)
Dædalus is a peer-reviewed academic journal founded in 1955 as a replacement for the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the volume and numbering system of which it continues. In 1958 it began quarterly publication as The Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The journal is published by MIT Press on behalf of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Each issue addresses a theme with essays on the arts, sciences, and humanities. Special features include fiction, poetry, and a notes section. Publication is by invitation only. The journal is indexed in Scopus and the Social Sciences Citation Index, among others.Daniel I. Arnon
Daniel Israel Arnon (November 14, 1910 – December 20, 1994) was a Polish-born American plant physiologist whose research led to greater insights into the operation of photosynthesis in plants. In 1973, he was awarded the National Medal of Science for "his fundamental research into the mechanism of green plant utilization of light to produce chemical energy and oxygen and for contributions to our understanding of plant nutrition."
Arnon was born on November 14, 1910, in Warsaw. Summers spent on the family's farm helped foster Arnon's interest in agriculture. His father had lost the family's food wholesale business after World War I and Arnon's readings of the works of Jack London led him to save up his money to head to California. He enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley from Poland, and would spend his entire professional career at the school, until his retirement in 1978. He ultimately earned his Ph.D. in plant physiology at UC Berkeley under Dennis R. Hoagland and some of his earliest research focused on growing plants in nutrient-enriched water rather than in the soil. During World War II, Arnon served in the United States Army in the Pacific Theater of Operations, where he used his prior experience with plant nutrition on Ponape Island, where there was no arable land available and he was able to grow food to feed the troops stationed there using gravel and nutrient-enriched water.After returning from military service, Arnon performed research on chloroplasts and their role in the photosynthesis process. His work was able to demonstrate how energy from sunlight is used to form adenosine triphosphate, the energy transport messenger within living cells, by adding a third phosphorus group to adenosine diphosphate. In 1954, Arnon reproduced the process in a laboratory, making him the first to successfully demonstrate the chemical function of photosynthesis, producing sugar and starch from inputs of carbon dioxide and water. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1962.A resident of Kensington, California, Arnon died at age 84 on December 20, 1994, in Berkeley, California, of complications resulting from cardiac arrest. He had three daughters and two sons. His wife, the former Lucile Soule, died in 1986. in 1954Eli Ruckenstein
Dr Eli Ruckenstein (born August 13, 1925)is a Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. His main research areas are catalysis, surface phenomena, colloids and emulsions, and bio-compatible surfaces and materials.Evelyn M. Witkin
Evelyn M. Witkin, born Evelyn Maisel (born March 9, 1921) is an American geneticist who was awarded the National Medal of Science for her work on DNA mutagenesis and DNA repair.Harold S. Johnston
Harold S. "Hal" Johnston (October 11, 1920 – October 20, 2012) was an American scientist who studied chemical kinetics and atmospheric chemistry. After beginning his academic career at Stanford University, he was a faculty member and administrator at the University of California, Berkeley for nearly 35 years. In 1971, Johnston authored a paper suggesting that environmental pollutants could erode the ozone layer.
Johnston was elected to several scholarly organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He won the National Medal of Science in 1997.Horace Barker
Horace Albert "Nook" Barker (November 29, 1907 – December 24, 2000) was an American biochemist and microbiologist who studied the operation of biological and chemical processes in plants, humans and other animals, including using radioactive tracers to determine the role enzymes play in synthesizing sucrose. He was recognized with the National Medal of Science for his role in identifying an active form of Vitamin B12.Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron (born June 9, 1943) is an American jazz pianist, who has appeared on hundreds of recordings as leader and sideman and is considered one of the most influential mainstream jazz pianists since the bebop era.Marvin H. Caruthers
Marvin H. Caruthers (born 11 February 1940) is an American biochemist who is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Caruthers earned a B.S in chemistry at the Iowa State University in 1962 and a Ph.D in Biochemistry 1968 at Northwestern University with Robert Letsinger. He did his postdoctoral work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Har Gobind Khorana. From 1973 he was Assistant Professor and in 1980 Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
His research is on nucleic acids. He and his research group developed methods for the phosphoramidite synthesis of DNA. Using this technique, his group was able to incorporate nucleotide analogs for functional group mutagenesis for a deeper understanding of nucleic acid biochemistry. In addition to DNA, he developed methods of RNA synthesis and also for DNA analogues and the applications of the resulting molecules. He was a co-founder of Amgen and Applied Biosystems with Leroy Hood.In 1994 Caruthers was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994. He received the National Medal of Science (2006), the NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society (2005) and the NAS Award in Chemical Sciences (2014). 1980/81 he was Guggenheim Fellow.May Berenbaum
May Roberta Berenbaum (born 1953) is an American entomologist whose research focuses on the chemical interactions between herbivorous insects and their host-plants, and the implications of these interactions on the organization of natural communities and the evolution of species. Member of the National Academy of Sciences and named editor-in-chief of its journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2019; Member of the American Philosophical Society (1996); and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1996). In 2014, she was awarded the National Medal of Science.Paul Doughty Bartlett
Paul Doughty Bartlett (August 14, 1907 – October 11, 1997) was an American chemist.
Bartlett was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and grew up in Indianapolis. He received his B.A. from Amherst College in 1928. After his graduation from Harvard with James Bryant Conant, Bartlett worked at the Rockefeller Institute and the University of Minnesota. Most of his career was spent at Harvard. Among other achievements, Bartlett was co-author with Lawrence H. Knox of a classic paper on organic reaction mechanisms. After his retirement in 1972, he started his second career at Texas Christian University.
He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1946. He was awarded the Willard Gibbs Award in 1963, National Medal of Science in 1968, and the John Price Wetherill Medal in 1970. In 1969, Paul Doughty Bartlett was elected as member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.Richard Barry Bernstein
Richard Barry Bernstein (October 31, 1923 – July 8, 1990) was an American physical chemist. He is primarily known for his researches in chemical kinetics and reaction dynamics by molecular beam scattering and laser techniques. He is credited with having founded femtochemistry, which laid the groundwork for developments in femtobiology. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1970. Among his awards were the National Medal of Science and the Willard Gibbs Award, both in 1989.
Bernstein suffered a heart attack in Moscow and died shortly afterwards in Helsinki, Finland, aged 66.Sereno Watson
Sereno Watson (December 1, 1826 in East Windsor Hill, Connecticut – March 9, 1892 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) was an American botanist.
Graduating from Yale in 1847 in Biology, he drifted through various occupations until, in California, he joined the Clarence King Expedition and eventually became its expedition botanist. Appointed by Asa Gray as assistant in the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University in 1873, he later became its curator, a position he maintained until his death. Watson was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1874, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1889.Stephen J. Benkovic
Stephen James Benkovic (born April 20, 1938) is an American chemist. He is Evan Pugh Professor and Eberly Chair in Chemistry at Penn State University. His research has focused on mechanistic enzymology and the discovery of enzyme inhibitors. He was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1985.Theophilus Bradbury
Theophilus Bradbury (November 13, 1739 in Newbury, Massachusetts – September 6, 1803 in Newburyport, Massachusetts) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1757; taught school and studied law in Portland, Maine; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Portland in 1761; moved to Newburyport, Mass., in 1764 and continued the practice of law; member of the State senate 1791-1794; elected as a Federalist to the Fourth and Fifth Congresses and served from March 4, 1795, until July 24, 1797, when he resigned; appointed justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1797. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1798. Bradbury was a member of the electoral college in 1800.
In February 1802 Bradbury was stricken with paralysis and totally disabled, he was removed from the bench in July 1803.Bradbury died in Newburyport, Mass., September 6, 1803; interment in Old Hill Burying Ground in Newburyport.William O. Baker
William Oliver Baker (July 15, 1915 – October 31, 2005) was president of Bell Labs from 1973 to 1979 and advisor on scientific matters to five United States presidents.Willis Lamb
Willis Eugene Lamb Jr. (; July 12, 1913 – May 15, 2008) was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1955 "for his discoveries concerning the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum." The Nobel Committee that year awarded half the prize to Lamb and the other half to Polykarp Kusch, who won "for his precision determination of the magnetic moment of the electron." Lamb was able to determine precisely a surprising shift in electron energies in a hydrogen atom (see Lamb shift). Lamb was a professor at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences.
|Founding of the|