April 28, 2009
SMU Anthropology Department chair David Meltzer has been inducted into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for his achievements in original scientific research. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States.
Meltzer, the Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in Dedman College and director of QUEST Archaeological Research Program, is the third SMU professor to be inducted into the NAS – all of whom have come from the University’s highly regarded anthropology department.
The induction ceremony was held on April 24, 2010. Meltzer was among 71 other scientists joining the more than 2,000 active NAS members.
Meltzer’s work centers on the origins, antiquity, and adaptations of the first Americans – Paleoindians – who colonized the North American continent at the end of the Ice Age. He focuses on how these hunter-gatherers met the challenges of moving across and adapting to the vast, ecologically diverse landscape of Late Glacial North America during a time of significant climate change.
Meltzer’s archaeology and history research has been supported by grants from the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, The Potts and Sibley Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution. In 1996, he received a research endowment from Joseph and Ruth Cramer to establish the Quest Archaeological Research Program at SMU, which will support in perpetuity research on the earliest occupants of North America.
His research has appeared in more than 130 publications, and Meltzer has written or edited half a dozen books, including First People in a New World: Colonizing Ice Age Americans, recently published by The University of California Press. He received his Ph.D in anthropology/archaeology from the University of Washington in Seattle and joined the faculty at SMU in 1984.
Two emeritus faculty members in SMU’s Anthropology Department are also NAS members: Lewis Binford was elected to the NAS in 2001 and Fred Wendorf was elected in 1987.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furthering science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Established in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences has served to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.
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