American Academy of Arts and Sciences Elects Eight NYU Faculty as 2019 Fellows


Newswise — The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) has elected eight New York University faculty as fellows: Rachel Barkow, a professor at the School of Law; Jonathan Haidt, a professor in the Stern School of Business; Mary Louise Pratt, a professor emerita; Sylvia Serfaty, a professor in the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences; Michael Shelley, a professor in the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences; Eero Simoncelli, a professor in the Center for Neural Science; Anna Deavere Smith, a professor in the Tisch School of the Arts; and Hirokazu Yoshikawa, a professor in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. 

Other AAAS fellows selected this year include the following: former First Lady Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation and this year’s NYU commencement speaker, journalist James Fallows, and author Jonathan Franzen. 

The list of the new members may be found here

“One of the reasons to honor extraordinary achievement is because the pursuit of excellence is so often accompanied by disappointment and self-doubt,” said David W. Oxtoby, the president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “We are pleased to recognize the excellence of our new members, celebrate their compelling accomplishments, and invite them to join the Academy and contribute to its work.”

Rachel Barkow, vice dean and Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy at the School of Law, focuses on applying the lessons and theory of administrative and constitutional law to the administration of criminal justice. She is the author of Prisoners of Politics: Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration and co-author of Criminal Law and Its Processes: Cases and Materials (10th edition).

Jonathan Haidt, the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at the Stern School of Business, examines the intuitive foundations of morality. A social psychologist, he has penned The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion and The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom.

Mary Louise Pratt, a professor emerita in the departments of Social and Cultural Analysis and Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures, is a scholar of Latin American literature written since 1800. Her works include: Toward a Speech Act Theory of Literary DiscourseLinguistics for Students of Literature, and Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation

Sylvia Serfaty, a Silver Professor at the Courant Institute, is an authority in the calculus of variations, nonlinear partial differential equations, and mathematical physics. Much of her work involves the analysis of defects in physical systems by constructing mathematical tools to describe their behavior.

Eero Simoncelli, a Silver Professor at the Center for Neural Science, studies the representation of sensory information by brains and machines. His research considers how neurons encode sensory information and how that information is extracted for recognition, decisions, and action. And from a more theoretical perspective, he asks why sensory systems use their particular computations and how the underlying principles of their design can help create better man-made systems for processing sensory signals.

Michael Shelley, Lilian and George Lyttle Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Courant Institute, studies complex phenomena arising in active matter, biophysics, and complex fluids—as well as in fluid-structure problems that arise in understanding swimming and flying. Shelley deploys mathematical modeling, analysis, and simulation in his work, often collaborating with experimental researchers in biology and physics to complement his research.

Anna Deavere Smith, a University Professor at the Tisch School’s Department of Art and Public Policy, is an actress and playwright who also holds an appointment at NYU’s School of Law. She has appeared in Nurse Jackie, Blackish, Madame Secretary, The West Wing, The American President, Rachel Getting Married, and Philadelphia, among other productions, authored Letters to a Young Artist and Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines, and created Fires in The Mirror, Twilight: Los Angeles, and “Let Me Down Easy”—one-person plays. 

Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Courtney Sale Ross University Professor of Globalization and Education in NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Applied Psychology, is a community and developmental psychologist who studies the effects of public policies and programs related to immigration, early childhood, and poverty reduction on children’s development. The co-director of NYU’s Global TIES for Children, Yoshikawa is currently leading the research and evaluation of Ahlan Simsim, a program directed by Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Middle East, as well as a similar program in Bangladesh. 

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony this October in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

AAAS members have included: Benjamin Franklin (1781), Alexander Hamilton (1791), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848), Charles Darwin (1874), Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959), Martin Luther King, Jr. (1966), Antonin Scalia (2003), Michael Bloomberg (2007), John Lithgow (2010), and Judy Woodruff (2012).

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