Nine Yale scholars elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The new members will join previously elected fellows in helping to advance the common good.
Nine scholars elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Top row, from left, Orazio P. Attanasio, Claire L. Bowern, and Hazel Carby. Second row, Kerwin K. Charles, James Forman Jr., and Dr. Jorge Galan. Third row, Leonid Glazman, Yair Minsky, and Priyamvada Natarajan.

Nine members of the Yale faculty who have made important contributions across a range of fields, including economics, medicine, African American studies, and linguistics, are among the nearly 270 accomplished individuals elected new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Each year, the academy — an honorary society and independent policy organization with initiatives in the arts, democracy, education, global affairs, and science — elects new members in recognition of their notable achievements in academia, industry, policy, research, and science. The new members include more than 40 International Honorary Members from 23 countries.

With the election of these members, the academy is honoring excellence, innovation, and leadership and recognizing a broad array of stellar accomplishments,” said David W. Oxtoby, president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “We hope every new member celebrates this achievement and joins our work advancing the common good.”

The academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and other early leaders of the United States with the purpose of honoring exceptionally accomplished individuals and engaging them in the betterment of society. The first members elected in 1781 included Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

The new members from Yale are:

Orazio P. Attanasio, the Cowles Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), whose economic research interests include household consumption; saving and labor supply behavior; risk sharing; evaluation and design of policies in developing countries; human capital accumulation in developing countries; early-years interventions; micro credit; and measurement tools in surveys. His projects have included assessing the impact of a high school scholarship program for Mexico’s Ministry of Education; evaluating a large early-childhood development intervention in Ghana; and directing the evaluations of the conditional cash transfer program in Colombia, among many others. In 2017 he was elected the second vice-president of the Econometric Society, an international society of academic economists interested in applying statistical tools in the practice of econometrics.

Claire L. Bowern, a professor of linguistics in FAS, centers her research around language change and language documentation in Indigenous Australia. She works in the field with speakers of endangered languages and with archival sound and print materials, and uses computational and phylogenetic methods. She is the editor of the journal Diachronica and a past chair of Yale’s Women Faculty Forum, a gender equity group on campus. She is also faculty co-director of the Native Northeast Portal and chair of the Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching  and Learning’s faculty advisory committee.

Hazel Carby, the Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor Emeritus of African American Studies and professor emeritus of American studies in FAS, is a leading scholar in the fields of feminist literary studies and Black studies. During her Yale career, she also advanced African American studies at the university. She is the award-winning author of “Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands” (2019), “Cultures in Babylon; Black Britain and African America” (1999), “Race Men” (1998), and “Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Novelist” (1997). She co-authored “The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain” (1982).

Kerwin K. Charles, the Indra K. Nooyi Dean & Frederic D. Wolfe Professor of Economics, Policy & Management at the Yale School of Management since 2019, has been widely recognized for his scholarship on earnings and wealth inequality, conspicuous consumption, race and gender labor market discrimination, and other microeconomic issues. Before coming to Yale, he was the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergmann Distinguished Service professor at the University of Chicago, and among other professional duties, he recently served as the vice president of the American Economics Association and is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was recently also named a fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

James Forman Jr., the J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law at Yale Law School, teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy. His first book, which won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, is “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” which examines the problem of mass incarceration. Prior to his academic career, Forman was a public defender in Washington, D.C., where his frustration with clients’ limited education and job training opportunities led him to co-found, in 1997, the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for high school dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested. At Yale, one of the courses he teaches, “Inside Out: Issues in Criminal Justice,” allows Yale students to study alongside men and women incarcerated in state and federal prisons.

Dr. Jorge Galan, the Lucille P. Markey Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis and professor of cell biology in the Yale School of Medicine, holds both a Ph.D. and a D.V.M. His laboratory studies the pathogenesis of two intestinal pathogens, Salmonella Enterica and Campylobacter jejuni, which account for the majority of cases of infectious diarrhea worldwide and have led to an estimated 2 million deaths globally. His lab takes a multidisciplinary approach that involves bacterial genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, immunology, and structural biology to define the molecular details of the host-pathogen interactions. He has received numerous awards for his work. Among other affiliations, he is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Science, and the National Academy of Medicine.

Leonid Glazman, the Donner Professor of Physics and professor of applied physics in FAS, is a member of the Yale Quantum Institute. His research area is quantum condensed matter theory. He is especially interested in dynamic properties of quantum low-dimensional interacting systems, such as low-dimensional quantum fluids, topological materials, and various condensed matter implementation of qubits. He collaborates with Yale experimental groups in the field of quantum information and with research groups outside of the university. His numerous honors include a Humboldt Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists and a Creativity Award from the National Science Foundation. He is the McKnight Presidential Chair of Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics and a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Yair Minsky, the Einar Hille Professor of Mathematics in FAS, focuses his research on three-dimensional topology, hyperbolic geometry, and Riemann surface theory. His work has been supported by numerous grants from the National Science Foundation and the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation. He has received several Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships. Minsky served two separate terms as chair of Yale’s Department of Mathematics, from 2010 to 2014 and again from 2018 to 2021. He is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

Priyamvada Natarajan, the Joseph S. and Sophia S. Fruton Professor of Astronomy and professor of physics in FAS, is an astrophysicist whose research is in cosmology, gravitational lensing, and black hole physics. She has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the coupling of the visible and dark universe, including the formation, fueling, feedback, and assembly history of supermassive black holes and their larger-scale cosmic context, and mapping dark matter substructure in clusters of galaxies. Her research focuses on confronting and testing theoretical ideas with observational data in astrophysics. She is the chair of the Department of Astronomy and director of the Franke Program in Science and the Humanities at Yale. She is the recipient of the Guggenheim and Radcliffe fellowships and is an elected fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Other newly elected members include actress Michelle Yeoh; songwriter, actor, director, and producer Lin-Manuel Miranda; social psychologist James W. Pennebaker; poet, essayist, and translator Ilya Kaminsky; and author Zadie Smith. The new members join a distinguished group of individuals who have been members of the academy, including Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Stephen Hawking, Joan Baez, Condoleezza Rice, and Heather Cox Richardson.

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