May 1, 2006
Three UCSC professors elected to American
Academy of Arts and Sciences
By Tim Stephens and
Three UCSC faculty members are among the newly elected fellows
of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. They are Harry
Berger, Jr., professor emeritus of English literature and history
of art and visual culture; David Haussler, professor of biomolecular
engineering; and Harold Widom, professor emeritus of mathematics.
The 175 new fellows elected this year also include former Presidents
George H. W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton; Supreme Court
Chief Justice John Roberts; Nobel Prize-winning biochemist and
Rockefeller University President Sir Paul Nurse; director Martin
Scorsese; and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.
"It gives me great pleasure to welcome these outstanding
leaders in their fields to the academy," said academy president
Patricia Meyer Spacks. "Fellows are selected through a
highly competitive process that recognizes individuals who have
made preeminent contributions to their disciplines and to society
Berger was recognized for his contributions to literary criticism.
A founding faculty member at UCSC, he is known for his wide-ranging
and interdisciplinary approach that goes far beyond traditional
academic boundaries. Berger studied literature and art history
at Yale University, where he earned his B.A. and Ph.D. in English
and taught for nine years. He came to UCSC in 1965 and has taught
a variety of subjects under the general category of culture
theory and Renaissance culture, including Renaissance drama
and Shakespeare. In art history, Berger specialized in Italian
and Dutch painting and the theory and practice of portraiture.
He has published extensively, with a dozen books and more than
80 articles to his credit.
Haussler was recognized for his work in computer science, including
artificial intelligence and information technology. A Howard
Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Haussler directs the
Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering at UCSC. He
is also affiliated with UCSC's Center for Molecular Biology
of RNA and is scientific codirector of the California Institute
for Quantitative Biomedical Research. He has done pioneering
work in the fields of computational learning theory and bioinformatics.
His research group made vital contributions to the International
Human Genome Project and remains at the forefront of the field
of computational genomics.
Haussler is also one of two UCSC faculty members elected to
the National Academy of Sciences this week (see separate
story). A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science and the American Association for Artificial Intelligence,
he earned his B.A. in mathematics from Connecticut College,
M.S. in applied mathematics from California Polytechnic State
University at San Luis Obispo, and Ph.D. in computer science
from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He joined the UCSC
faculty in 1986.
Widom has made important contributions in an area of mathematics
called random matrix theory, which is also of great interest
to physicists. His work with collaborator Craig Tracy of UC
Davis led to the discovery of a new class of distribution functions
called Tracy-Widom distributions. Widom and Tracy shared the
prestigious George Pólya Prize in 2002 for this work.
Widom's early research was in the areas of integral equations
and operator theory.
Widom attended the City College of New York as an undergraduate,
then received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from
the University of Chicago. He joined the UCSC faculty in 1968.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences will welcome this
year's new class at its annual induction ceremony on October
7 at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. Founded
in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other
scholar-patriots, the academy has elected as Fellows and Foreign
Honorary Members the finest minds and most influential leaders
from each generation, including George Washington and Ben Franklin
in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson
in the 19th, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the
20th. The current membership includes more than 170 Nobel laureates
and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners. An independent policy research
center, the academy undertakes studies of complex and emerging
problems. Current academy research focuses on science and global
security; social policy; the humanities and culture; and education.