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Four Stanford faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences

STANFORD -- Four Stanford University faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the academy announced Tuesday, April 26.

Those elected from Stanford this year are:

Their election brings the total number of Stanford faculty serving on the academy to 105, plus an additional five affiliated with the Hoover Institution.

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

Flavell, an Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1976. He obtained his doctorate at Clark University and first came into national prominence as a developmental psychologist in 1963, when he published a now-classic book on the work of Jean Piaget.

He subsequently picked up on an area raised by Piaget - "egocentric thinking" in children - and conducted a series of studies, culminating in his 1968 book Role Taking and Communication Skills, in which he was able to show that, while young children may be aware that others' perspective differs from their own, they have trouble using this knowledge to tailor and monitor their own communications appropriately.

Flavell has proposed a general model for the development of a child's social cognition and has studied such issues as 3-year-olds' ability to distinguish between appearance and reality and how preschoolers think about thinking. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary degrees from the University of Paris and the University of Rochester

Laughlin, who is also an Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, is recognized as one of the top theorists in the field of condensed matter physics, the study of the physical properties of solid materials.

Laughlin, who received his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979 and came to Stanford in 1984, provided one of the first general theoretical explanations of the quantum Hall effect, which involves the motion of electrons in metals or semiconductors in the presence of both electric and magnetic fields. When cooled to very low temperatures, electrical conductivity in one direction becomes quantized, that is, begins to jump between different discrete values. For his explanation of this and related effects, he was awarded the 1985 E.O. Lawrence Award for Physics, as well as the 1986 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize, the most prestigious award in condensed matter physics in this country.

More recently, Laughlin has been working on an original theory to explain the newly discovered high temperature superconductors, materials that can conduct electricity at much higher temperatures than traditional superconductors. Among other honors, Laughlin was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1990.

Shapiro, the Joseph D. Grant Professor in the School of Medicine, received her doctorate from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She came to Stanford in 1989 to build the medical school's new Department of Developmental Biology, one of the few such departments in the country.

Using techniques of molecular genetics and biochemistry, Shapiro's research contributes to one of the most basic questions of developmental biology: How is the three-dimensional organization of a cell generated from a one-dimensional genetic code? Shapiro was one of a small circle of researchers to introduce and develop the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus as a model system for development. The apparently symmetrical bacterial cell can become polarized, gaining structures and molecules on one side that are absent from the other. By studying this process, called unicellular differentiation, Shapiro hopes to learn more about polarity in the more complex cells of vertebrates, and eventually to better understand developmental mechanisms that allow one cell to divide into two daughter cells that differ from each other. Shapiro is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Wilson is the Atholl McBean Professor of Economics at the Graduate School of Business. His teaching and research have focused on competition and cooperation in multi-person decisions, particularly the role of incentives and the effects of differences in information. Among his publications are seminal articles on risk sharing, incentives and efficient methods of allocating resources.

An authority on competitive bidding, Wilson recently helped design an auction system for selling radio spectrum licenses that will be used later this year by the Federal Communications Commission. Wilson earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at Harvard. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1964. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and the Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences.



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