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NASA's Joanne Simpson Honored by American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Joanne Simpson, Chief Scientist Emeritus for Meteorology at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., is slated to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). The AAAS announced the election of 175 new Fellows and 20 new Foreign Honorary Members on April 24.

Image of Dr. Joanne SimpsonImage right: Portrait of Dr. Joanne Simpson

Those previously elected include two former U.S. presidents; the current Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; a Nobel laureate; winners of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, drama, music, investigative reporting, and non-fiction; a former U.S. poet laureate; and a member of the French Senate.

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 eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth. The current membership includes more than 170 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners.

"I'm glad to be part of something established by the founding fathers, that's not only comprised of scientists, but also of artists, writers, poets and all types of people," Simpson said.

This year's 195 elected scholars, scientists, artists, civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders come from 24 states and 13 countries, and range in age from 37 to 83. Represented among this year’s newly elected members are more than 60 universities, and a dozen corporations, as well as museums, research institutes, media outlets and foundations.

This year’s new Fellows 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; the chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton; actor and director Martin Scorsese; choreographer Meredith Monk; conductor Michael Tilson Thomas; and New York Stock Exchange chairman Marshall Carter, along with leading scientists and scholars from across the nation.

The newly elected class also includes: Elbert Rutan, designer and constructor of the Voyager, the first vehicle to circumnavigate the earth without refueling and other renowned experimental aircraft; Charles Thacker, designer of the world’s first personal computer workstation; William Greenough of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, whose research provided the first clear evidence for the structural basis of memory; Michael Dawson, University of Chicago political scientist who has authored influential studies on race and politics in the United States.

Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members are nominated and elected to the Academy by current members. A broad-based membership, comprised of scholars and practitioners of mathematics, physics, biological sciences, social sciences, humanities and the arts, public affairs and business, gives the Academy a unique capacity to conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary studies and public policy research.

“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 at large.”

“Throughout its history, the Academy has convened the leading thinkers of the day, from diverse perspectives, to participate in projects and studies that advance the public good,” added Chief Executive Officer Leslie Berlowitz. “I am confident that this distinguished class of new Fellows will continue that tradition of cherishing knowledge and shaping the future.”

The Academy will welcome this year's new class at its annual Induction Ceremony on October 7, at the Academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

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.

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+ In-depth story on Joanne Simpson

Rob Gutro
Goddard Space Flight Center