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Press Release: Five Scholars Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Date Issued: May 2, 2005



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  • Kendall Madden is a science-writing intern with Stanford News Service. Amy Adams, Dawn Levy and Barbara Palmer contributed to this report

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The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the country's oldest honorary learned societies, announced on April 27 the election of the 2005 class of Fellows. This year's Fellows include five Stanford scholars—John Felstiner, Jerome H. Friedman, David M. Kingsley, Robert C. Malenka and D. John Roberts.

Founded in 1780 by Revolutionary leaders John Adams, John Hancock and James Bowdoin, the academy has provided a forum for scholars, professionals and government leaders to share ideas and work together for the betterment of the nation. The academy has more than 4,500 members and 600 foreign honorary members, and hosts several research programs addressing pressing contemporary issues such as the role of the humanities in American culture, global security, the use of technology in global development and methodologies for education policy assessment.

The election of this year's class brings the number of Stanford scholars in the academy to 221.

John Felstiner, professor of English, teaches modern poetry, Jewish literature and literary translation. He earned a doctorate at Harvard University and joined the Stanford faculty in 1965 and also has taught at the University of Chile, Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Yale University. During the 1970s, Felstiner developed critical approaches to poetry by civilians and soldiers from the Vietnam era and, after teaching in Israel, began to study and teach the literature that emerged from the Holocaust.

He is the author of The Lies of Art: Max Beerbohm's Parody and Caricature and Translating Neruda: The Way to Macchu Picchu. His book on the German-speaking Jewish poet, Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Modern Language Association's James Russell Lowell Prize, and won the Truman Capote Prize for Literary Criticism in 1997. Felstiner has edited an anthology of Jewish American literature and of Celan's poems and prose. Currently a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, he is at work on a book on poetry and environmental urgency.

Jerome H. Friedman, professor of statistics at Stanford since 1982 and a staff member at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center since 1972, is one of the world's leading researchers in statistics and data mining. He has created many new statistical methods used widely today in exploratory data analysis—searching for patterns in unstructured data—and in “machine learning”—teaching computers to make decisions in problems where humans excel. His work has been applied in fields as diverse as computer vision, medical diagnosis and financial portfolio management. Friedman is co-inventor, with Stanford's Richard Olshen and the University of California-Berkeley's Charles Stone and Leo Breiman, of CART, a popular way of generating the diagnostic trees used in medicine and many other disciplines.

Friedman received his bachelor's degree in physics in 1962 and his doctorate in high-energy particle physics in 1967 from UC-Berkeley. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) with nearly 90 publications to his credit—several were deemed “paper of the year.” His publications address a wide range of topics including nearest-neighbor classification, logistical regressions and high-dimensional data analysis. The ASA's Chicago chapter selected him as “statistician of the year” in 1999. He won the Association for Computing Machinery's Data Mining Lifetime Innovation Award in 2002 and the Emanuel and Carol Parzen Award for Statistical Innovation in 2004.

David M. Kingsley, professor of developmental biology, uses patterns of bone formation as a way of exploring basic problems in morphogenesis and vertebrate evolution. Working in mice, he has found morphogenic proteins that control how bones and joints develop. He also has examined natural populations of threespine stickleback fish to identify mutations that underlie speciation and evolutionary changes in skeletal morphology.

Kinsley attended Yale University, where he earned bachelor's and doctoral degrees in biology in 1981 and 1986, respectively. He is now the co-director of the National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence in Genomic Science at Stanford: The Genomic Basis of Vertebrate Evolution. He also is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher and was a scholar in biomedical research with the Lucille P. Markey Foundation from 1989 to 1996.

Robert C. Malenka, the Nancy Friend Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, studies how nerve cells in the brain communicate and how these communication systems are modified over time when exposed to positive or negative stimuli. His research aims to better understand depression, brain disorders and mental illness through studies of the cellular and molecular changes that take place in specific neural circuits.

Malenka attended Harvard University, where he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in biology in 1978. He earned his M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1983. Among his many honors, Malenka was awarded the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award in 1993. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2004.

D. John Roberts, the John H. Scully Professor of Economics, Strategic Management and International Business, has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1980. He is a senior associate dean of the Graduate School of Business and until 2001 he held the Jonathan B. Lovelace Professorship at the school. Roberts' current research focuses on the design, governance and management of organizations, especially in an international context. He also has published extensively on industrial competition and the influence of differences in information among parties on strategic behavior.

Roberts received his bachelor's degree from the University of Manitoba in 1967 and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1972. He taught at Northwestern University before coming to Stanford. Roberts is a fellow and former council member of the Econometric Society and he has served on the editorial boards of multiple economics journals. He is the author of more than 70 scholarly articles and co-author of a textbook on the economics of organization and management. In 2004, The Economist named his book The Modern Firm one of the year's best business books. In 2002, Roberts received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Business School's Sloan Master's Program and in 2005 he received the school's Robert T. Davis Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award.

Several other members of the academy's 2005 class are Stanford alumni, including Nobel Prize winner Eric Cornell, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Other members of this year's class include architect and sculptor Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington, D.C.; Academy Award-winning actor and director Sidney Poitier; and journalist Tom Brokaw.

By Kendall Madden, News Service

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