National Academy of Sciences Elects Six Simons Research Grantees and Advisers

Top row, left to right:  Agol, Hoekstra, Klebanov. Bottom row, left to right: Liebler, Liu, Mirzakhani
Clockwise from top-left: I. Agol, H. Hoekstra, I. Klebanov, M. Mirzakhani, A. Liu, S. Liebler

On May 3, four Simons-supported researchers and two foundation advisory board members were elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). A private, nonprofit organization, the academy consists of distinguished scientists who provide independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Including its newest class, the academy now has 2,291 active members. View the full list of this year’s honorees here.

The new NAS members affiliated with the Simons Foundation are as follows:

Ian Agol is a mathematics professor at the University of California, Berkeley and is currently on sabbatical at the Institute for Advanced Study. He has made major contributions to three-dimensional topology and hyperbolic geometry, mpleting some of Thurston’s problems elucidating the structure of 3-manifolds. He proved several deep and long-standing conjectures, including the Virtual Haken conjecture, Marden’s Tameness conjecture and the Simon conjecture. He is a Simons Investigator in mathematics.

Hopi Hoekstra is Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Curator of Mammals in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Much of her lab’s research focuses on identifying and characterizing the molecular changes responsible for traits that affect the fitness of organisms in the wild. Hoekstra is a Quanta advisory board member.

Igor Klebanov is associate director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science and Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Princeton University. Much of his work has focused on relations between quantum field theories in four and three spacetime dimensions and higher dimensional theories, which include gravity. Klebanov is a member of the foundation’s theoretical physics scientific advisory board.

Andrea Liu is Hepburn Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research uses analytical theory and numerical simulation to study problems in soft matter physics. She is a Simons Investigator in physics and part of the Simons Collaboration on Cracking the Glass Problem.

Maryam Mirzakhani is a mathematics professor at Stanford University. She won a Fields Medal in 2014 for her work, which focuses on Teichmüller theory and dynamics of natural geometric flows over the moduli space of Riemann surfaces. She is a Simons Investigator in mathematics.

Stanislas Leibler is Gladys T. Perkin Professor at Rockefeller University, where he is the head of the Laboratory of Living Matter. He is also a scientist at the Simons Center for Systems Biology at the Institute for Advanced Study. His research tackles some of the basic questions connected with the functioning and evolution of simple genetic and biochemical networks. In 2015, he received a Targeted Grant in the Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems from the Simons Foundation.