NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Four Rutgers professors are among 84 distinguished researchers elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences this year, one of the highest honors an American scientist or engineer can achieve. The anthropologist and three physicists will bring the number of Rutgers faculty who are members or foreign associates of this prestigious organization to 24.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It 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 and technology.
"Membership in the National Academy of Sciences is among the most significant honors that our faculty receive," said Richard S. Falk, acting executive dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. "We are especially proud that four of our professors were elected this year, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to research and for being active contributors to the international scientific community."
The new Rutgers members are:
Eva Andrei, Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences
Andrei studies the electronic properties of graphene, a one-atom thick membrane of crystalline carbon with extraordinary electronic properties that could one day be at the heart of speedy and powerful electronic devices. In 2009, the journal Science cited her findings in its list of the year's 10 groundbreaking scientific achievements.
Andrei is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She holds the Medal of Physics from CEA, a French government research organization. In 2010, she received the Rutgers Board of Trustees award for Excellence in Research.
Robin Fox, Department of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences
Fox is a social theorist, an expert on human and primate kinship and a founder of modern biosocial science. His book, Kinship and Marriage, is one of the most widely used anthropology texts in the world.
He collaborated with fellow Rutgers anthropologist Lionel Tiger on the book, The Imperial Animal, about the significance of evolution for understanding society and human behavior.
Fox's recent writings include collections of essays on the tribal basis of society and culture and on the Shakespeare authorship issue. He continues to explore the implications for humankind's future of our knowledge of the evolutionary past.
Karin Rabe, Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences
Rabe's research focuses on theoretical analysis and prediction of the structure and properties of materials, and applying these methods to the design of new materials that could be used in future electronic devices for energy conversion and information storage and processing.
Rabe is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society, from which she received the David Adler Lectureship Award in Materials Physics in 2008. She was recently elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Earlier in her career, she received a Presidential Young Investigator Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship.
David Vanderbilt, Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences
Vanderbilt's advances in modeling atomic structures have helped scientists and engineers modify materials and create new materials not found in nature, with applications in physics, chemistry, materials science, electronics and geology. His methods are embedded in most computer programs that physicists use, and his paper describing them is among the most frequently cited papers in physics journal articles.
His work also includes studies of piezoelectric materials, which produce electric voltage when stressed or change shape when voltage is applied to them. These materials are found in oscillators for electronic watches, vibration-damping structures in tennis racquets and skis, and components for medical instruments and homeland security sensors.
Vanderbilt is a fellow of the American Physical Society and winner of its Rahman Prize in Computational Physics in 2006. In that same year, he served as chair of the society's Division of Materials Physics.
The NAS membership totals approximately 2,200 members and 400 foreign associates, of whom approximately 200 have received Nobel prizes.