National Academy of Sciences Elects 10 Simons Investigators and Fellows in 2018

Ten Simons-supported researchers have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. The announcement of its 2018 election, made May 1, recognizes the researchers’ distinguished and continuing contributions in original research. The academy, established in 1863 by an act of Congress, provides independent, objective advice to the United States on matters related to science and technology. A full list of this year’s honorees is available here.

The new National Academy of Sciences members affiliated with the Simons Foundation are as follows:

Sanjeev Arora is Charles C. Fitzmorris Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University. His research spans several areas of theoretical computer science, including computational complexity, approximation algorithms, geometric embeddings of metric spaces, and high-dimensional problems in machine learning. He is a principal investigator of the Simons Collaboration on Algorithms and Geometry and a 2012 Simons Investigator in computer science.

Andrea L. Bertozzi is a professor of mathematics and of mechanical and aerospace engineering, the Betsy Wood Knapp Chair for Innovation and Creativity, and director of applied mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has contributed to many areas of applied mathematics including the theory of swarming behavior, aggregation equations and their solution in general dimension, the theory of particle-laden flows in liquids with free surfaces, data analysis/image analysis at the micro and nano scales and the mathematics of crime. She is a 2017 Simons Investigator in Math+X.

Yang Dan is a professor of neurobiology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She studies the circuits in the mammalian brain that control sleep and the mechanisms by which the frontal cortex exerts top-down executive control. She is an investigator in the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain.

Christopher D. Hacon is a Distinguished Professor of mathematics at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. His work in higher-dimensional algebraic geometry has solved major problems concerning the birational geometry of algebraic varieties, including the characterization of irregular varieties, boundedness theorems for pluricanonical maps, a proof of the existence of flips, the completion of the minimal model program for varieties of general type, and bounds for the order of automorphism groups of varieties of general type. He is a 2012 Simons Investigator in mathematics.

Vassiliki Kalogera is Daniel I. Linzer Distinguished University Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics. She studies the astrophysics of compact objects, gravitational waves, gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, and binary systems. She is a 2012 Simons Fellow in theoretical physics.

Carol A. Mason is a professor of pathology and cell biology, neuroscience, and ophthalmology at Columbia University. She investigates visual system development. Her work has revealed molecular signals for the differentiation and guidance of retinal ganglion cells during the formation of the circuit for binocular vision. She is a senior fellow in the Simons Society of Fellows.

Steven R. White is a professor of physics at the University of California, Irvine. He works mostly in condensed matter theory, specializing in computational techniques for strongly correlated systems. These strongly correlated systems include both high-temperature superconductors and quantum spin liquids. As the inventor of the density matrix renormalization group (DMRG) algorithm for simulating quantum systems, he is interested in ways to improve and broaden DMRG, to apply it a variety of systems, and to understand and develop related tensor network algorithms. He is director of the Tensor Networks group within the Simons Collaboration on the Many Electron Problem and a consultant for the Center for Computational Quantum Physics at the Flatiron Institute.

Christopher Walsh is chief of the genetics and genomics division at Boston Children’s Hospital, Bullard Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at Harvard Medical School and a clinical investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His research focuses on the genes that regulate the development and function of the cerebral cortex. Mutations in those genes can result in disorders such as autism and epilepsy. He is a SFARI investigator.

Matias Zaldarriaga is a professor of astrophysics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. His work focuses on learning about the earliest moments of the cosmos by studying the cosmic microwave background and the distribution of matter in the universe. He is a principal investigator in the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of the Universe.

Feng Zhang is Patricia and James Poitras ’63 Professor in Neuroscience and an associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences and biological engineering at MIT. He is also an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. His research leverages synthetic biology to develop tools, such as CRISPR methods, to study nervous system function and disease. He is a SFARI investigator.

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