National Academy of Science Elects Seven Harvard Scholars

The National Academy of science (NAS) elected seven more Harvard professors to the honorary society April 24.

Fifty scholars are elected each year on the basis of the quality of their original research, Patricia P. Worns, a spokesman for the NAS, said yesterday.

The newly elected professors are Mark S. Ptashne, professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Kwang-chih Chang '55, professor of Anthropology; Phillip A. Griffiths, professor of Mathematics; Heinrich D. Holland, professor of Geology; Paul C. Martin '52, professor of Physics; Richard D. Sidman '49, Bullard Professor of Neuropathology, and Evon Z. Vogt, professor of Social Anthropology.

The academy also awarded Ptashne the annual U.S. Steel Foundation award in molecular biology.

Harvard has 92 professors among the academy's 1248 members, more than any other university, Worns said.


Ptashne said yesterday he was elected to the academy because of his research "on how proteins interact with DNA to turn genes on and off."

Election to the academy is an honor that does not commit members to specific duties, Ptashne said.

"When something fouls up in science, the government will ask the academy to study the problem, but basically the academy is a self-perpetuating body whose main function is to elect new members," Griffiths, who was elected for his research relating higher calculus to classical geometry, said yesterday.

"It's like becoming a tribal elder in sciences," Vogt, who received the honor for his study of the ritual and ceremony of the Maya Indians in southern Mexico, said yesterday.

Sidman, elected for his work on the development of the mammalian brain, said yesterday that membership in the academy is an honor, "but unless I'm in for a rude surprise, there's not much work expected of me."

"After one has worked in the field a long time, one hopes to be elected," Holland said yesterday. He has worked for 25 years on the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans and the chemical composition of ore-forming fluids.

Martin has done research in statistical physics and condensed matter physics.