News Bureau | University of Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo


2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008
Email to a friend envelope icon for send to a friend

Three Illinois professors elected to National Academy of Sciences

James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor

(217) 244-1073;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Three University of Illinois faculty members are among the 72 scientists elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of distinguished research and continuing achievements, the academy announced today.

The Illinois faculty members chosen are Peter Beak, the Roger Adams Professor of Chemistry; Karl Hess, a Swanlund Professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Dale Van Harlingen, a professor of physics. Election to membership in the academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer. Those elected bring the total number of active members to 1,922.

"This recognition represents the excellence of each of these individuals and of the university," said Nancy Cantor, the chancellor at Illinois. "These three men are extraordinary scientists who have changed the world through their work."

Beak is a leader in the fields of physical organic chemistry and organic synthesis. He has made significant contributions to the synthetic and mechanistic uses of stereochemistry in organic chemistry, and to the characterization and understanding of organic reaction processes. Beak joined the Illinois faculty in 1961.

Hess is an internationally recognized researcher in the areas of solid-state electronics, the physics and chemistry of molecular and electronic nanostructures, and theory and simulation of optoelectronics. He also is one of the founders of the new area of computational electronics. Hess joined the Illinois faculty in 1978.

Van Harlingen is an expert in low-temperature physics, superconductivity and microfabrication of superconductor devices. His research in superconductivity gave the first direct evidence for d-wave pairing in high-temperature superconductors, a breakthrough in the field of condensed-matter physics. He joined the Illinois faculty in 1981.

"These individuals have contributed enormously to carrying on the legacy of excellence in scientific research at Illinois," said Richard Herman, the provost at Illinois. "Their profound scientific accomplishments have advanced knowledge in each of their respective fields."

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. The academy was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation, signed by Abraham Lincoln, that calls on the academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

A full directory of NAS members can be found online.