Professors elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Nancy Makri and Kenneth Schweizer join one of nation's oldest honor societies
Nancy Makri and Kenneth Schweizer
Nancy Makri and Kenneth Schweizer

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign chemistry professors Nancy Makri and Kenneth Schweizer have been elected 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.

College of Education Dean James Anderson and physics professor Nadya Mason were also elected to the academy this year. 

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.

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.

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.”

News Source

Lois Yoksoulian, Illinois News Bureau