Two scientists at the Smithsonian Institution have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.
Thomas Watters, a geologist at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, was named for distinguished contributions in planetary geology and tectonic landforms, particularly with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mercury MESSENGER and MARSIS radar on the Mars Express.
Gary Graves, a zoologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, was named for his distinguished contributions to avian ecology and evolution, particularly the use of null models and stable isotopes in ecology, avian natural history and conservation biology.
"To be recognized by AAAS in this way is wonderful not only for the individuals but for the Smithsonian as a whole," said Eva Pell, Under Secretary for Science at the Smithsonian. "Tom and Gary are two very talented scientists well deserving of this honor. To be named together in the same year is also wonderful, as their respective fields of terrestrial geophysics in space and biology here on Earth underscore the great scope of science at the Smithsonian."
This year 702 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin Saturday, Feb. 16, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.
The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the association's 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee's institution) or by the AAAS CEO. Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section, and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.
Watters and Graves are two of the more than 500 Smithsonian scientists, augmented by approximately 500 fellowship appointments and hundreds of international collaborators. Smithsonian scientists conduct their research in field stations and laboratories on all seven continents and are leaders nationally and internationally in a wide scope of disciplines.