By Lois Yoksoulian, Physical Sciences Editor, Illinois News Bureau
Chemistry professors Nancy Makri and Kenneth Schweizer were elected, along with two other UIUC professors, College of Education Dean James Anderson and physics professor Nadya Mason, to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest honor societies in the nation.
They are among 252 new members elected to the academy this year, including artists, scholars, scientists and leaders in the public, nonprofit and private sectors.
- Makri is recognized for her work in theoretical quantum dynamics and numerical path integral simulations of quantum mechanical processes. She is the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Chair, a professor in chemistry and physics, a member of the Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Institute and an affiliate of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. She has developed real-time path integral algorithms that address the computational limitations of the Schrodinger equation and is currently studying the effects of electron-vibration interaction on charge and energy transfer. Makri is the recipient of many awards, including the Beckman Research Award, the Sloan Research Fellowship, the Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, and the Bodossaki Academic Prize in Physical Sciences. She is a medalist and a member of the International Academy for Quantum Molecular Science and a fellow American Physical Society fellow.
- Schweizer is the Morris Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and a professor of chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering at Illinois. He also is affiliated with the Materials Research Lab and the Beckman Institute, and earned a PhD in physics at Illinois. The overarching goal of his research is to develop novel molecular-scale statistical mechanical theories of the equilibrium and dynamic properties of polymers, colloids, nanocomposites, elastomers, gels, glasses and other forms of soft matter, and apply them to understand experiments and assist in the design of new soft materials. Schweizer has been the chair of the American Physical Society Division of Polymer Physics and associate director of the National Science Foundation Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Directed Assembly. Among his numerous awards are the American Physical Society Polymer Physics Prize, John H. Dillon Medal and Fellowship, Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Chemistry of Liquids of the American Chemical Society, the Everitt Award for Teaching Excellence, the Drucker Eminent Faculty Award and the Department of Energy Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement in Materials Chemistry.
- Anderson is recognized as a groundbreaking scholar on the history of U.S. and African American education and achievement. His seminal book, “The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935,” won the American Educational Research Association’s outstanding book award in 1990. He also received the AERA’s highest honor, a Presidential Citation, in 2020. A member of the National Academy of Education and the former senior editor of the journal History of Education Quarterly, Anderson served as an expert witness in a series of federal desegregation and affirmative action cases. He also was an adviser for and participant in several PBS documentaries, including “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow” and “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities.” During his distinguished 47-year career at Illinois, Anderson has served in a variety of leadership roles and received several of its highest honors including selection as a Presidential Fellow, a Center for Advanced Study Professor of Education and the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of Education.
- Mason is the Rosalyn Sussman Yalow Professor in Physics at Illinois and the founding director of the Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. As a condensed matter experimentalist, she works on quantum electronics and materials. Mason is a fellow and former general councilor for the American Physical Society, former chair of the APS Committee on Minorities and has been a regular “Whys Guys” science presenter on local TV. In 2019, she delivered the TED Talk “How to spark your creativity, scientifically.” During her career at Illinois, Mason has demonstrated the surface states in topological materials and individual superconducting bound states in graphene-based systems. In 2014 Mason was appointed a John Bardeen Faculty Scholar in Physics at Illinois. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Maria Goeppert Mayer Award, the Edward Bouchet Award, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research at Illinois and the Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award. Mason also is affiliated with the Materials Research Laboratory and the Holonyak Micro and Nanotechnology Lat at Illinois.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock and others who believed the new republic should honor exceptionally accomplished individuals and engage them in advancing the public good.
“We are honoring the excellence of these individuals, celebrating what they have achieved so far and imagining what they will continue to accomplish,” said David Oxtoby, the president of the American Academy. “The past year has been replete with evidence of how things can get worse; this is an opportunity to illuminate the importance of art, ideas, knowledge and leadership that can make a better world.”