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U. of I. scholars elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Frederick K. Lamb and Ralph G. Nuzzo, professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Election to the American Academy is an honor that acknowledges the best of all scholarly fields and professions. Among the academy’s 196 other new fellows are Nobel Prize-winning physicist Eric Cornell, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Academy Award-winning actor and director Sidney Poitier. They will be inducted Oct. 8 during ceremonies at the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

Lamb is a professor of physics and of astronomy and the holder of the Fortner Chair in theoretical astrophysics at Illinois. He also is the director of the university’s Center for Theoretical Astrophysics. An internationally recognized pioneer in high-energy and relativistic astrophysics, Lamb has contributed to a better understanding of X-ray stars, neutron stars, pulsars, black holes and strong-field gravity.

Lamb also is a professor in the university’s Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security. He co-chaired the American Physical Society Study Group on Boost-Phase Intercept Systems for National Missile Defense. Lamb and the 11 other members of the group shared the 2005 Leo Szilard Lectureship Award from the APS for this work.

Lamb earned his bachelor’s degree in physics in 1967 from the California Institute of Technology, and his doctorate in theoretical physics in 1970 from Oxford University. He joined the Illinois faculty in 1972.

Nuzzo is a William H. and Janet G. Lycan Professor of Chemistry and the director of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory on the Illinois campus. He also is a leader in a university initiative that combines neuroscience with chemistry and materials science.

Nuzzo is a recognized leader in the chemistry of materials, including processes that occur at surfaces and interfaces. His work has lead to new techniques for fabricating and manipulating materials at the nanoscale, including functional device structures for microelectronics, optics and chemical sensing.

Nuzzo was a pioneer in the development of methods of molecular self-assembly that have led to entirely new areas of surface chemistry with important extensions into physics, biology and materials, and with numerous applications ranging from biosensors to advanced electronics. His work has made important contributions to soft lithography – a low cost alternative to conventional photolithography for patterning circuits on microchips.

Nuzzo earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1976 from Rutgers University, and his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1980 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the Illinois faculty in 1991.

The American Academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity and happiness of a free, independent and virtuous people.”

The academy has more than 4,000 fellows and 600 foreign honorary members, which includes more than 150 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners. The academy focuses its research on international security, social policy, education and the humanities.