The American Association for the Advancement of Science recently recognized eight UCSB faculty members as fellows of the world’s largest scientific organization.

The AAAS honors members nominated by their peers for their noted contributions and professional accomplishments during its annual AAAS Fellow Forum. This year the organization elected 539 fellows from a variety of disciplines related to scientific research.

History department professor W. Patrick McCray, recognized by the AAAS division of history and philosophy of science for his research as a historian of science and technological physics, said the achievement holds significant weight.

“The triple-AS elects fellows in different sections,” McCray said. “Peers nominate you and then you are voted in as a fellow. Election [as a fellow] is a nice recognition of the work you do.”

Fellowship is a lifetime honor and all newly elected members will be formally recognized during the AAAS meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia on Feb. 18, 2012 with an official certificate along with a blue and gold rosette.

Nobel laureate Alan J. Heeger, a physics and of materials professor who won the award in the astronomy division, said the significant number of UCSB professors chosen reflects the school’s prestigious reputation in the sciences.

“[This is] the recognition by my colleagues that I made important contributions broadly and general recognition for all of my work, and I am very proud that so many colleagues have been similarly recognized,” Heeger said.

Additionally, the AAAS physics division elected physics department professor Philip A. Pincus for his work and advancement on the theory of soft condensed matter of physics.

Computer Science Department Chair Subhash Suri was also honored for his noted scientific advancements in the areas of computational geometry, networks and economics by the AAAS information computing and communication division.

Suri said the AAAS is one of the scientific community’s leading organizations.

“The triple-AS is the most significant scientific association,” Suri said. “The fact that eight faculty members were recognized is a huge recognition for the scientific work being done at this campus.”

The AAAS physics division elected Robert L. Sugar, a professor in the physics department, as a fellow for his noted advancement in quantum chromodynamics in the discipline of particle physics.

Chemistry and biochemistry department faculty members Kevin W. Plaxco and Frederick Dahlquist also earned fellow status. The AAAS biological sciences section honored Plaxco for his pioneering research in the areas of molecular biophysics and biomolecular engineering, while the AAAS chemistry section noted Professor Dahlquist for his work in the field of structural biology.

The AAAS astronomy division recognized physics department professor Lars Bildsten for his contributions to the field of astrophysics and his pioneering research on neutron stars and the supernovae.

Bildsten said the university’s contributions to science will continue to amalgamate through the years.

“UCSB’s impact in science and engineering is constantly growing,” Bildsten said. “This recognition by the AAAS is appropriate for an institution at our level of accomplishment.”