American Philosophical Society
Member History

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21Name:  Dr. Gary Ruvkun
 Institution:  Harvard Medical School; Massachusetts General Hospital
 Year Elected:  2019
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  207. Genetics
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1952
   
 
Gary Ruvkun is currently Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Hans-Hermann Schoene Distinguished Investigator in the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1982. Gary Ruvkun discovered, with Victor Ambros, that small non-coding RNAs play a central role in eukaryotic gene regulation. Prior to this discovery it was universally assumed that the regulation of gene expression was controlled entirely by proteins. The discovery of a whole new layer of regulation mediated by what are now known as micro-RNAs has revolutionized thinking about regulatory mechanisms. Ruvkun’s genetic studies have contributed greatly to our understanding of micro-RNA biogenesis and action. In a second major advance, Ruvkun and Cynthia Kenyon provided the first convincing evidence that organismal aging is controlled by genetic programs, thereby opening a new approach to the study of aging. Finally, Ruvkun has studied how organisms respond to toxins, showing that it is not individual compounds that are recognized but rather their toxic effects, such as slower protein synthesis. Detection of toxicity then leads to a multi-faceted response aimed at countering the toxic insult. Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, 2008; Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, 2015. Author: (B. Reinhart et al.) “The 21 nucleotide let-7 RNA regulates developmental timing in C. elegans,” Nature, 2000; (A. Pasquinelli et al.) “Conservation of the sequence and temporal expression of let-7 heterochronic regulatory RNA,” Nature, 2000; (Y. Liu et al.) “Caenorhabditis elegans pathways that surveil and defend mitochondria,” Nature, 2014. National Academy of Sciences, 2008; National Academy of Medicine, 2009; American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2009. Gary Ruvkun was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2019.
 
22Name:  Dr. Patrick Spero
 Institution:  American Philosophical Society
 Year Elected:  2019
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  503. Administrators, Bankers and Opinion Leaders from the Public or Private Sectors
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1978
   
 
Patrick Spero received his B.A. from James Madison University in 2000, his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 and 2009 respectively. He held a number of public history jobs while pursuing his Ph.D., including serving has Historian at the David Library of the American Revolution. From 2009-2011, he served as the Pew Post-Doctoral Fellow in Bibliography at the American Philosophical Society Library, where he surveyed the Society’s early American manuscript collections and wrote a guide to these collections. Dr. Spero then joined the faculty of Williams College until 2015, when he returned to the Society as its Librarian. Before joining the Society, Spero organized several international conferences and directed numerous teacher workshops. He is the author of numerous articles, essays, and reviews and has published two books, Frontier Rebels: The Fight for Independence in the American West, 1765-1776 (W.W. Norton, 2018) and Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). He is also co-editor of The American Revolution Reborn: New Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).
 
23Name:  Dr. Clifford J. Tabin
 Institution:  Harvard Medical School
 Year Elected:  2019
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  202. Cellular and Developmental Biology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1954
   
 
Dr. Cliff Tabin obtained his Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984, where he made one of the first retroviral vectors and also first identified the activating mutation in the ras oncogene, in the laboratory of Robert Weinberg. Dr. Tabin began his work in developmental biology during a brief postdoc in the laboratory of Doug Melton at Harvard University, before leaving a year later for a position as an independent Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital. There he began studying limb regeneration and development in an effort to bring modern molecular tools to classical embryological systems, work he continued when he joined the faculty of the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School in 1989. His lab is responsible for the first use of retroviral vectors for gene transfer into developing chick embryos, opening that system for genetic manipulations. Focusing on the genetic basis of pattern formation and morphogenesis, his lab has worked on a range of developmental problems, including contributions to our understanding of limb development, the isolation of Sonic hedgehog as a key developmental morphogen, the discovery of the first genes involved in regulating left-right asymmetry in the embryo and elucidation of the role of physical forces in shaping the gut. He has also examined the way developmental pathways are modulated through evolution to produce different morphologies such as in the generation of distinct beaks in different species of Darwin’s Finches, enlarged legs in hopping rodents called jerboas, and metabolic evolution in cave fish
 
24Name:  Dr. Philip Tetlock
 Institution:  University of Pennsylvania
 Year Elected:  2019
 Class:  3. Social Sciences
 Subdivision:  304. Jurisprudence and Political Science
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1954
   
 
Philip E. Tetlock was born in Toronto, Canada in 1954 and completed his Ph.D. at Yale University in1979. He has served on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley (1979–1995; 2000-2010) and the Ohio State University (1995-2000). Since 2011, he has been the Annenberg University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, with cross-appointments in Psychology, Political Science and the Wharton School. He has received awards for research accomplishments from the American Psychological Association, American Political Science Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, International Society of Political Psychology, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and four foundations (MacArthur, Sage, Grawemeyer, and Carnegie). Over the last four decades, Tetlock's research program has explored five themes: 1. the concept of good judgment, with special emphasis on using "tournaments" as a method of exploring correlates and determinants of: (i) subjective-forecasting accuracy in world politics; (ii) proficiency at drawing correct causal/counterfactual lessons from history in complex simulations of world politics (Tetlock, 2005; Tetlock & Belkin, 1996; Tetlock & Gardner, 2015); 2. the impact of accountability on judgment and choice, with special emphasis on the socio-cognitive strategies that people use to cope with different forms of accountability (who must answer to whom, for what, and under what ground rules?) (Tetlock, 1992; Lerner & Tetlock, 1999); 3. the constraints that sacred values place on the thinkable, with special emphasis on three types of proscribed cognition (taboo trade-offs, for bidden base rates and heretical counterfactuals) (Tetlock, 2003); 4. the difficult-to-define distinction between value-neutral and value-charged scholarship, with special emphasis on debates on whether certain research programs in social psychology have or have not crossed that line (Sniderman & Tetlock, 1986; Tetlock & Mitchell, 2009); 5. the role that hypothetical-society experiments can play in helping to disentangle fact from value judgments in macro-distributive-justice debates, such as income inequality.
 
25Name:  Dr. Judith Jarvis Thomson
 Institution:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 Year Elected:  2019
 Class:  4. Humanities
 Subdivision:  407. Philosophy
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1929
 Death Date:  November 20, 2020
   
 
Judith Jarvis Thomson was Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1959. Her teaching career includes Barnard College, Boston University, and as Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Judith Jarvis Thomson has been a leading contributor to the flourishing of moral and political philosophy in America since the 1960s. She is best known for her defense of abortion and for her subtle and pioneering use of “trolley problem” thought experiments as a tool for understanding interpersonal morality, which has set the agenda, and provided a model, for much subsequent work. Thomson’s ingenious use of examples, and her rigorous yet extremely readable style, have made her writing widely influential. Her important book, The Realm of Rights, used this same method of argument from carefully crafted examples to develop a general account of morality based on rights, drawing important connections between morality and law, particularly the theory of torts. Thomson was one of a small number of women philosophers to rise to great prominence in the field in the second half of the twentieth century, paving the way for many others. She has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship (1987-88) and the Quinn Prize of the American Philosophical Association in 2012. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (1989) and the American Philosophical Association (president, Eastern Division, 1992-93). Her works include Acts and Other Events (1977), Rights, Restitution, and Risk (1986), The Realm of Rights (1990), and Normativity (2008). Judith Jarvis Thomson was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2019. She died on November 20, 2020.
 
26Name:  Dr. David A. Tirrell
 Institution:  California Institute of Technology
 Year Elected:  2019
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  103. Engineering
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1953
   
 
David A. Tirrell is the Ross McCollum-William H. Corcoran Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Carl and Shirley Larson Provostial Chair, and Provost at the California Institute of Technology. Tirrell was educated at MIT and at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He joined the Department of Chemistry at Carnegie-Mellon University as an assistant professor in 1978, returned to Amherst in 1984, and served as Director of the Materials Research Laboratory at UMass before moving to Caltech in 1998. He served as chairman of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from 1999 until 2009, and as Director of the Beckman Institute from 2011 until 2018. Tirrell’s research interests lie in macromolecular chemistry and in the use of non-canonical amino acids to engineer and probe protein behavior. His contributions to these fields have been recognized by his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to all three branches (Sciences, Engineering and Medicine) of the U.S. National Academies.
 
27Name:  Professor Patricia J. Williams
 Institution:  Northeastern University; Columbia University
 Year Elected:  2019
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  504. Scholars in the Professions
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1951
   
 
Patricia Williams is currently James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University as well as Columnist for The Nation. She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1975. Prior to moving to Columbia, she worked in the Office of the City Attorney of Los Angeles, for the Western Center on Law and Poverty of Golden Gate University School of Law, at the City University of New York Law School at Queens College, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Patricia Williams is a preeminent theorist of race in relation to law in modern American public life, an esteemed scholar and celebrated public intellectual. Her first book was an immediate classic, not only for her penetrating insights at the intersection of race, gender and rights consciousness, but also for her analysis of everyday life as the setting where equality’s vexed and contradictory lifeworlds matter and are worked out – if they are. She is highly regarded as a critical race theorist, feminist theorist, and civil rights scholar; her influence makes these veins of scholarship necessary and accessible to each other. She also brought a new voice to scholarship and journalism – immersed in observed experience, yielding evidence unseen in the more filtered formality of conventional academic writing. Signs of her stature include her many awards, the Reith Lectures (BBC), and her place in Columbia’s oral history archive. Her awards include the Pioneer of Civil and Human Rights Award of the National Conference of Black Lawyers in 1990 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2000. She is on the board of advisors at the Center of Constitutional Rights and the board of directors at the National Organization for Women. She is the author of The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (1991), The Rooster's Egg: On the Persistence of Prejudice (1995), and The Blind Goddess: A Reader on Race and Justice (2011). Patricia Williams was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2019.
 
28Name:  Dr. Xiaowei Zhuang
 Institution:  Harvard University; Howard Hughes Medical Institute
 Year Elected:  2019
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  102. Chemistry and Chemical Biochemistry
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1970
   
 
Xiaowei Zhuang is the David B. Arnold Professor of Science at Harvard University and an investigator of Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her laboratory has developed single-molecule, super-resolution and genomic-scale imaging methods, including STORM and MERFISH, and has used these methods to discover novel molecular structures in cells and cell organizations in tissues. Zhuang received her BS in physics from the University of Science and Technology of China, her PhD in physics in the lab of Prof. Y. R. Shen at University of California, Berkeley, and her postdoctoral training in biophysics in the lab of Prof. Steven Chu at Stanford University. She joined the faculty of Harvard University in 2001 and became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator in 2005. Zhuang is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the European Molecular Biology Organization, a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. She received honorary doctorate degrees from the Stockholm University in Sweden and the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. She has received a number of awards, including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, National Academy of Sciences Award in Scientific Discovery, Dr. H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics, National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology, Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in Biophysics, Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics, American Chemical Society Pure Chemistry Award, MacArthur Fellowship, etc.
 
Election Year
2019[X]
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