Four Yale professors elected to National Academy of Sciences

Yale News - May 2, 2017

Professors Robert Crabtree, Nicholas Read, Karen Seto, and Daniel Spielman have been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

The academy selected 84 new members and 21 foreign associates for membership. The new members were announced May 2. Election to membership in the academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be afforded to a U.S. scientist or engineer.

Brief profiles of the new NAS fellows follow:

Robert Crabtree

Crabtree is the Conkey P. Whitehead Professor of Chemistry, a faculty member at the Energy Sciences Institute, and member of the executive committee for the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Chemical Society, and holds many other honors.

Crabtree’s research focuses on the design and synthesis of molecules with unusual structures and properties, with an emphasis on alternative energy strategies, such as solar energy and hydrogen storage.

Nicholas Read

Read is the Henry Ford II Professor of Physics, professor of applied physics and mathematics, a member of the Yale Quantum Institute, and an affiliate of the Yale Institute for Network Science. He has received numerous honors, including the 2015 Dirac Medal and Prize, the Oliver E. Buckley Prize, and election as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Read is a theoretical physicist who studies quantum many-particle systems. He is widely known for his work on the Quantum Hall Effect, a phenomenon that occurs in a two-dimensional system of electrons that is fabricated in a semiconductor device, placed in a strong magnetic field, and cooled almost to absolute zero. His work has been highly influential in the field of condensed matter physics, inspiring a number of discoveries relating to quantum computing.

Karen Seto

Seto is a professor of geography and urbanization science at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES), where she is also associate dean of research and director of doctoral studies.

Seto’s work looks at the human transformation of land and the links between urbanization, global change, and sustainability. Her research integrates remote sensing, field interviews, and modeling methods to study urbanization and land change, forecast urban growth, and examine the environmental consequences of urban expansion.

Daniel Spielman

Spielman is the Henry Ford II Professor of Computer Science and Statistics and Data Science, with additional appointments in the Departments of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. He is a Simons Investigator, a MacArthur Fellow, and co-director of the Yale Institute for Network Science.

In his research, Spielman has explored ways to design extremely fast algorithms for large computational problems, such as those encountered in machine learning, scientific computing, and optimization. His work has been influential in advancing the frontiers of theoretical computer science and applied mathematics.

‘Marvelous diversity’ of Yale research

“We are thrilled that the achievements of this superb group of Yale faculty have received this singular national recognition,” said Steven Girvin, deputy provost for research. “The broad range of their pursuits represents some of the marvelous diversity of the many research directions being advanced at Yale.”

Crabtree, Read, Seto, and Spielman will be formally inducted as members at next year’s NAS annual meeting. Their membership brings the total number of active NAS members to 2,290.

NAS is a private, nonprofit institution established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

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