Two more campus professors were recently inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences, bringing the total number of recognized UCSB faculty to 23.
The fellowships were awarded to physics professor David Awschalom and geography professor Michael Goodchild on April 24. The academy will honor its recipients at its annual Induction Ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Oct. 7.
Others who joined the academy this year include former U.S. presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, actor and director Martin Scorsese and 9-11 Commission chairman Thomas Kean, Awschalom said.
The academy was founded in 1780 by such men as John Adams, James Bowdoin and John Hancock in order to unite public leaders, scientists, scholars, artists and businessmen for the betterment of society, a UCSB press release stated.
According to the academy’s website, the organization’s goals are to help mentor potential leaders in their fields, analyze important social and intellectual issues and promote academic excellence. The academy currently boasts 4,000 American Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members.
“This gives me the chance to understand more deeply what happens in society and what I can do to help,” Awschalom said.
Physics professor Doug Scalapino said he is glad his fellow faculty members Goodchild and Awschalom were inducted into the academy because their honors bring UCSB high esteem.
“This kind of recognition reflects on UCSB’s reputation for excellence,” Scalapino said.
Chancellor Henry Yang said he agrees that the honors prove the university’s academic excellence.
“This is a wonderful honor that recognizes the outstanding achievements of two of our UC Santa Barbara colleagues,” Yang said in a statement. “The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is the oldest learned society in the country and being elected a Fellow is a significant distinction.”
Awschalom is most recognized for his research in spintronics – the study of the spin exhibited by electrons. He said he discovered how to manipulate electrons in a fashion that causes them to spin in opposite directions crosswise to an electric field.
“[This discovery] caught people by surprise, including us,” Awschalom said.
He said his 20 years of work have inspired the creation of new tools and instruments for the manipulation of electrons. In addition, Awschalom said he is looking forward to working with the academy.
“I have an opportunity to educate myself about issues for people in the arts and educate them in science,” Awschalom said.
The UCSB press release said Goodchild is best known for his development and leadership of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis in the late 1980s. His main research includes urban and economic geography, geographic information systems and spatial analysis.
Goodchild, who is currently abroad, could not be reached for comment.