Stanford Report, May 2, 2001
|Three Stanford professors elected to American Academy of
Arts and Sciences
Three Stanford professors have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The international learned society draws its membership from achievers in a variety of fields, including mathematics, public affairs, the social sciences, the humanities, the physical sciences and the biological sciences. It also conducts "a varied program of projects and studies responsive to the needs and problems of society," according to its website.
Founded in 1780, the academy, which announced its 211 newly elected members April 26, is composed of more than 3,600 fellows and 600 foreign honorary members. Past members include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill.
The new members, who will be formally inducted at a ceremony and dinner scheduled for Oct. 13 at the House of the Academy in Cambridge, Mass., include former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, writer and filmmaker Woody Allen and photographer Richard Avedon, as well as the following Stanford professors:
W. S. Di Piero, a professor of English, teaches courses on poetry writing and modern British poetry.
"His best essays are better than anything else now being written, and his poetry is admirable," according to the academy.
Di Piero, 55, said he was "honored by the recognition."
A native of Philadelphia, Di Piero earned a bachelor's degree from St. Joseph's University in 1968 and a master's degree from San Francisco State University in 1971. He came to Stanford in 1982 as an assistant professor and became full professor in 1990.
Di Piero is a distinguished poet, essayist and translator (from the Italian) and serves as a consulting editor of the literary journals Pequod and the Southwest Review.
He has won a P.E.N. Renato Pogglio Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, among several others honor and awards.
His most recent books of poems, Skirts and Slacks, is set to hit bookstores this summer. His other recent poetry collections include Shadows Burning (1995), The Restorers (1992) and The Dog Star (1990). His essays are collected in three volumes: Memory and Enthusiasm: Essays 19751985 (1989); Out of Eden: Essays on Modern Art (1991); and Shooting the Works (1996). His translations include The Ellipse: Selected Poems of Leonardo Sinisgalli (1982) and Euripedes' Ion (1996).
Roeland Nusse, a professor of developmental biology and chair of the Department of Developmental Biology at the School of Medicine, received his doctorate in molecular biology in 1980 from The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, and completed postdoctoral studies at the Cancer Institute and at the University of California-San Francisco. After several years as head of the molecular biology department at The Netherlands Cancer Institute, he returned to the Bay Area and joined the Stanford medical faculty in 1990 as an associate professor with tenure. In 1994 he was promoted to professor. Nusse is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
Research in Stanford's Department of Developmental Biology focuses on central questions in the field, namely how cells communicate in embryogenesis, how cells differentiate, how cellular asymmetry is regulated and how organs are formed. Nusse's work, in particular, involves Wnt proteins, a large family of extracellular signaling molecules that are found throughout the animal kingdom and are important to normal and pathological developmental processes.
Nusse, who is a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and an honorary member of the Japanese Biochemical Society, has gained international recognition. At the October 1998 annual meeting of the Japanese society, he addressed an audience of several thousand scientists on "Signaling by Wnt in Drosophila." In January 2000, Nusse won the Peter Debye Prize from the University of Maastricht, Netherlands. The prize, which each year recognizes a different field of scientific research, focused on growth and development and honored Nusse for his work on the function of Wnt genes in development and cancer.
W.E. Moerner, a professor of chemistry, pioneered methods for detecting and observing individual molecules. Before Moerner's work, researchers could only describe averages, the mass motions and properties of a large crowd of molecules. Being able to scrutinize the behavior of lone
molecules may lead to extraordinary developments in the study of biological molecules, according to the academy. Moerner's work also makes it easier to compare experiment with theory, since researchers often phrase ideas in terms of a single molecule, not a large group.
Moerner received three bachelor's degrees in physics, electrical engineering and mathematics in 1975 from Washington University in St. Louis. He completed his doctorate in physics at Cornell University in 1982. From 1981 to 1995, Moerner worked as a research staff member and project leader at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose. He spent a year in Switzerland as a visiting guest professor of chemistry at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, before being appointed distinguished chair in physical chemistry in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at the University of California-San Diego in 1995. Moerner became a professor of chemistry at Stanford in 1998.
Moerner is a fellow of the
American Physical Society and the Optical Society of America, and a
senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers. He was awarded the Earle K. Plyer Prize for Molecular
Spectroscopy in 2001 from the American Physical Society. Eta Kappa
Nu, an electrical and computer engineering honor society, awarded
him the Wilkinson Outstanding Young Electrical Engineer Award in