SMU Anthropologist David Meltzer elected
to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

SMU Anthropologist David Meltzer has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

David Meltzer

DALLAS (SMU) — Anthropologist David J. Meltzer, the Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory at Southern Methodist University, is among the leaders in various fields who are newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academy announced Tuesday.

David Meltzer
David J. Meltzer
The new fellows and foreign honorary members — representing the sciences, the humanities and the arts, business, public affairs, and the nonprofit sector — join one of the world’s most prestigious honorary societies.

"I'm thrilled, honored and — after looking at when the American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded and by whom, and who has been elected to membership over the years — more than a bit humbled by it all," Meltzer said.

Meltzer researches 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 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.

Meltzer is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in SMU's Dedman College. He also is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Charles E. Curran, the Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values at SMU, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the Academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts, and education.

“Election to the Academy honors individual accomplishment and calls upon members to serve the public good,” said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 12, 2013, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Members of the 2013 class include winners of the Nobel Prize; National Medal of Science; the Lasker Award; the Pulitzer and the Shaw prizes; the Fields Medal; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; the Kennedy Center Honors; and Grammy, Emmy, Academy, and Tony awards. 

Scientists in the new class include:

  • Chemical engineer Rakesh Agrawal, who developed new solar processes for energy production
  • Bruce A. Beutler, recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
  • Martha Constantine-Paton, who studies nervous system activity crucial to early childhood development
  • David Dill, a leading developer of industrial verification technology
  • Computer architect Susan J. Eggers
  • Donna M. Ferriero, a leader in child neurology
  • Lasker Award winner Jeffrey M. Friedman
  • Mathematician H. Blaine Lawson Jr., who co-founded the field of “calibrated geometries”
  • Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President of Rockefeller University and a leading researcher on the formation of neural circuits during embryonic development and on nerve cell response to injury
  • Alan G. Marshall, who helped create the new field of petroleomics
  • Ornithologist Sandra L. Vehrencamp, a founder of the field of behavioral ecology
  • David J. Wineland, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Xiaowei Zhuang, a leader in single-molecule biophysics and bio-imaging

Social scientists in the new class include:

  • Robert A. Bjork, a psychologist who has made fundamental contributions to the science of learning and memory
  • Daniel Diermeier, a leading political scientist and game theorist
  • Alison Gopnik, a scholar of learning and child development
  • Christine Jolls, who helped launch the field of behavioral law and economics
  • Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, an expert in the relationship between culture and learning styles
  • Rose McDermott, a political scientist who investigates heritable aspects of political ideology
  • Judge Jed Rakoff, a major figure in areas of financial regulation and national security law
  • Political economist Alastair Smith
  • Marshall (“Mike”) Smith, former Undersecretary of Education and advocate of educational equity
  • Anthropologist Kathryn Ann Woolard, who works on obsolescent languages and “linguistic ideology.”

In the Humanities and the Arts, new members include:

  • Novelist Martin Amis
  • Novelist and essayist Wendell Berry
  • Philosopher David Chalmers
  • Director and actor Robert De Niro
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Annie Dillard
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey
  • Actress Sally Field
  • Michael Fishbane, a scholar of Jewish studies
  • Operatic soprano Renée Fleming
  • Jazz musician Herbie Hancock
  • Documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles
  • French history scholar Sarah Maza
  • Linguist David Perlmutter
  • Artist Judy Pfaff
  • Stuart Schwartz, a leading historian of colonial slavery
  • Artist Yoshiaki Shimizu
  • Singer-songwriter Pete Seeger
  • Singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen

Elected in public affairs and journalism are:

  • Former Secretary of the Air Force Edward “Pete” Aldridge
  • United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Alexander Aleinikoff
  • New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast
  • Astronaut, former Senator, and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner John Glenn
  • Senator Richard Lugar
  • Maxine Savitz, Vice President of the National Academy of Engineering

Philanthropists and business leaders in the 2013 class include:

  • Paul Buttenwieser, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and a major advocate for the arts
  • Glenn Hutchins, co-founder of Silver Lake Partners
  • David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group and a major philanthropist for the arts, libraries, and higher education
  • Thomas Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems and pioneer of revolutionary customer relationship management software
  • Ronald Williams, former Chairman and CEO of Aetna.

The new class also includes leaders of educational, cultural, and philanthropic organizations, among them:

  • Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and a mathematical physicist and string theorist
  • Philip J. Hanlon, President-elect of Dartmouth College
  • Max Nikias, President of the University of Southern California
  • Barbro Osher, Chairman of the Board of The Bernard Osher Foundation
  • Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Founder and Chairman of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
  • Peter Salovey, President-elect of Yale University
  • Phyllis Wise, Vice President and Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Academy elected 12 Foreign Honorary Members from Canada, China, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, South Africa, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. They include:

  • Smithsonian archeologist Richard Cooke
  • Playwright Athol Fugard
  • Physicist and Nobel Prize winner Serge Haroche
  • Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter

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