Seven Harvard profs named to the National Academy of Sciences, advisory board to the federal government

Seven of the 72 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) yesterday are Harvard professors, according to an NAS press release.

The Academy, which the release describes as “a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare” currently numbers 2,041 active members. Signed into existence by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the group is charged with acting as an advisor to the federal government on issues involving science and technology.

Election to the NAS is typically regarded as one of the highest honors that can be awarded to a scientist.

Lisa Randall ’83: A Physics professor who held professorships at Princeton and MIT before joining the Harvard Faculty in 2001, Randall is an expert in elementary particles, cosmology, and string theory.

Theda R. Skocpol: Skocpol, a professor of government and sociology, served as the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 2005 to 2007.

Eric Jacobsen: Chemistry professor Jacobsen joined the Faculty in 1993. In addition to teaching Harvard’s introductory organic chemistry course for many years, he served as one of 13 professors on the faculty advisory committee for the search for current University President Drew G. Faust in 2006.

Ronald Kessler: Kessler has been a professor in the department of health care policy at Harvard Medical School (HMS) since 1996. His research interests are focused broadly on issues of mental health.

Michael E. Greenberg: The director of the division of neuroscience at Children’s Hospital Boston and a professor in HMS’s department of neurology and neurobiology since 1986, Greenberg focuses his research on neurotransmitter mechanisms that are essential to central nervous system function.

Anjana Rao: Rao, who earned her Ph.D. from HMS and has done her postdoctoral research there and at Dana Farber Cancer institute, conducts immunology research at the CBR Institute for Biomedical Research.

Lars E. Hernquist: A professor of astronomy at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Hernquist studies dynamical processes in cosmology as well as galaxy formation and galaxy evolution.