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Ten Stanford faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences

STANFORD -- Ten Stanford University faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the academy announced Tuesday. The number, which represents 7.5 percent of the total admitted to membership this year, is the highest ever recorded by Stanford.

The academy, a private organization of scientists and engineers established in 1863 by an act of Congress, named 60 Americans and 15 foreign associates. They were recognized for "their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research." Election to the academy is considered one of the highest honors a scientist can achieve.

Those elected from Stanford this year are:

  • Bruce S. Baker, professor of biological sciences.
  • Denis Baylor, professor and chairman of neurobiology.
  • Malcolm R. Beasley, professor of applied physics and electrical engineering.
  • Steven Chu, professor of physics and applied physics and chairman of physics.
  • Mark M. Davis, professor of microbiology and immunology.
  • Gene H. Golub, professor of computer sciences.
  • Roger D. Kornberg, chairman and professor of cell biology.
  • Sharon R. Long, professor of biological sciences.
  • Eleanor E. Maccoby, professor emerita of psychology.
  • Richard E. Taylor, professor of physics at the university and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Taylor, a Canadian, was elected as a foreign member.

Baker, whose doctorate is from the University of Washington, is a developmental geneticist who came to Stanford in 1985. He is noted for his research on the mechanisms of sex differentiation, which focuses both genetic and molecular approaches using the fruit fly, Drosophila. He and his colleagues have determined how differences in gene expression and the processing of genes combine to determine whether an organism will develop as male or female. He won the 1992 National Academy Award in Molecular Biology.

Baylor, who earned an M.D. from Yale, works to explain the molecular processes that enable the eye to see. He has been recognized for basic discoveries on the mechanism of transduction and photoreceptor physiology. New information from Baylor's work on how light energy is changed into neural signals has fostered a greater awareness of the need for intensive study of the retina, its role in the visual process and the retinal diseases that threaten and can destroy eyesight. Baylor came to Stanford in 1984.

Beasley, the Theodore and Sydney Rosenberg Professor of Applied Physics and professor of electrical engineering, does research on the properties of superconductors and their applications. Superconductivity is the property of some materials to lose all electrical resistance at very low temperatures. Since coming to Stanford in 1974, Beasley has used advanced thin-film-deposition techniques to produce tailor-made, artificially structured superconducting materials. He heads an interdisciplinary research program doing advanced memory concept research for superconducting electronics. Beasley earned his doctorate at Cornell University.

Chu is the first Theodore and Frances Geballe Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences. His doctorate is from the University of California-Berkeley and he joined the Stanford faculty in 1987. Chu is an expert on atomic physics, laser spectroscopy, and quantum electronics. He developed a technique of optical cooling and trapping of atoms and used it to study delicate systems in optics. He recently shared the King Faisal International Prize given by the government of Saudi Arabia.

Davis, who has a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology, is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, as well as a Stanford professor of microbiology and immunology. He came to Stanford in 1983. He is recognizing for his achievements in cloning the genes that encode for the T-cell and its receptor. T-cells, a key component of the immune system, are largely responsible for organizing and carrying out the immune response to viruses, but they also act to reject organ transplants, and can play an essential auxiliary role in the immune response to bacterial infection. Davis has also been responsible for development of techniques that allow scientists to snip off and easily analyze important molecules on the surface of these cells, work that is important for the development of vaccines or therapies for cancer and autoimmune disease and transplant rejection.

Golub is the Fletcher Jones Professor in Computer Sciences. He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois and came to Stanford in 1962. He is noted for his work in the use of numerical methods in linear algebra for solving scientific and engineering problems. He also is the originator of "na-net," an electronic network that allows numerical analysts throughout the world to communicate easily.

Kornberg is known for his studies of the human chromosome's structure and transcription. His doctorate is from Stanford and he joined the faculty in 1978. He discovered a fundamental particle of the chromosome called the nucleosome 18 years ago and has studied its role in gene expression in order to help better understand the mechanism of cell differentiation. He has been responsible for constructing a precise geometric model for the basic structure of the nucleus or "brain" of a cell, now generally accepted by scientists throughout the world.

Long, who earned her doctorate at Yale, also won a MacArthur Prize. She joined the faculty in 1981 and is working to understand the symbiotic relationship between a bacterium, Phizobium, and alfalfa, its host plant. The plant allows the bacterium to utilize nitrogen from the atmosphere. Her molecular genetics lab is using the model to answer fundamental questions about the way genes control growth and change in bacterial and plant cells.

Maccoby, 75, is best known for her research on the development of children, both socially and intellectually. She has made contributions to the study of differential development of girls and boys, and infants' emotional attachments. A participant in the Stanford Center for the Study of Families, Children and Youth, Maccoby recently conducted with others a study of how divorce and child custody affect children. She earned her doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Michigan and joined the Stanford faculty in 1958.

Taylor, shared the 1990 Nobel Prize for physics for a series of research proving that protons and neutrons, once thought to be the basic particles of matter, are actually composed of smaller particles called quarks. Born in Alberta, Canada, Taylor earned his doctorate at Stanford in 1962 and has been a member of the staff of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center staff since its inception. He was named professor of physics in 1968 and became a professor by courtesy in the Physics Department in 1993.



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