Engineers Alan Needleman and Arto Nurmikko, physicist J. Michael Kosterlitz, and ecologist Jerry M. Melillo have been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a distinction of excellence in science, scholarship, business, public affairs and the arts. Needleman, Nurmikko and Kosterlitz are professors at Brown; Melillo is a researcher at the Marine Biological Laboratory who holds a joint appointment at Brown through the Brown-MBL Graduate Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has inducted four members of the Brown University community as fellows of the honorary society, which includes the world’s leading thinkers in scholarship and science, public affairs and business, and the arts and humanities.

Official induction ceremonies occurred at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007, in Cambridge, Mass. Engineers Alan Needleman and Arto Nurmikko, physicist J. Michael Kosterlitz, and ecologist Jerry M. Melillo were Brown University’s representatives in the AAAS Class of 2007. Also included was former Brown Provost Robert Zimmer, who now serves as president of the University of Chicago.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences selects its members through a highly competitive process that recognizes individuals who have made preeminent contributions to their disciplines and to society at large.

Members of the Brown community in the 227th AAAS class of fellows:

The 360-degree view:
Alan Needleman is the Florence Pirce Grant University Professor of Engineering at Brown University, where he joined the faculty in 1975. Needleman's main research interests are in the computational modeling of deformation and fracture processes in structural materials, especially metals. He was a Guggenheim Fellow, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and has been awarded the Prager Medal by the Society of Engineering Science and the Drucker Medal by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

J. Michael Kosterlitz is the Harrison E. Farnsworth Professor of Physics at Brown, where he joined the faculty in 1979. His first and most famous efforts in condensed matter physics sorted out an apparently impossible contradiction between theory and experiment, when he explained the existence of the superfluid state in thin films of helium. He was awarded the Onsager Prize by the American Physical Society for that work. He is also a fellow of the American Physical Society and the recipient of a Maxwell Medal from the Institute of Physics. Kosterlitz’s current studies focus on out of equilibrium driven systems.

Arto Nurmikko is the L. Herbert Ballou University Professor of Engineering and Physics. Nurmikko is an expert in laser sciences and nanophotonics, and the translation of fundamental condensed matter research to new photonic technologies. Among his early scientific highlights was the development of the blue/green semiconductor lasers. He has also worked on novel methods to speed magnetic information storage. Currently, his research focuses on applications of nanostructures for neural interfaces. Nurmikko is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and of the Optical Society of America He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1992.

Jerry M. Melillo is co-director of the Marine Biological Laboratory’s Ecosystems Center and a professor (MBL) of ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University. Melillo oversees research on global change, management of coastal zone ecosystems, and globalization and transformation of the tropical landscape. He specializes in understanding the impacts of human activities on the biogeochemistry of ecological systems. He has been president of the Ecological Society of America and of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), and was recently elected to the American Philosophical Society.

Melillo is affiliated with Brown through the Brown-MBL Graduate Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences, which offers students the chance to work with scientists at both locations and enhances the research potential of both institutions.

Other fellows elected to the Academy this year include former Vice President Albert Gore Jr.; former Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; New York mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg; Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt; New York Times investigative correspondent James Risen; filmmaker Spike Lee; economists Gregory Mankiw and Murray Weidenbaum; astronomer Donald Brownlee; robotics pioneer Rodney Brooks; Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter; supercomputer expert David Shaw; pianist Emanuel Ax; historian Nell Painter; former White House official and Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley; classicist Sabine MacCormack; and international public health leader Allan Rosenfield.