The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has announced 261 individuals who have been elected as new members to the Academy for 2022.
Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors individuals for their exceptional accomplishments and leadership in academia, the arts, industry, public policy, and research. In addition to honoring individuals for their outstanding achievements, the Academy also engages in multidisciplinary research by experts in various fields, addressing topics in the areas of the arts and humanities, democracy and justice, education, energy and environment, global affairs, and science and technology.
Among the more than 13,500 academy members elected since 1780 are such illustrious figures as Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Margaret Mead, Martin Luther King Jr., Joan Baez, Nelson Mandala, Milton Friedman, Stephen Hawking, Condoleezza Rice, and M. Temple Grandin.
“We are celebrating a depth of achievements in a breadth of areas,” said David Oxtoby, President of the American Academy. “These individuals excel in ways that excite us and inspire us at a time when recognizing excellence, commending expertise, and working toward the common good is absolutely essential to realizing a better future.”
The new members were selected in five “classes” or categories:
Mathematical and Physical Sciences (59 new members), which includes fields such as mathematics and statistics; physics; chemistry; astronomy, astrophysics and earth sciences; engineering and technology; and computer sciences.
Biological Sciences (54 new members), which includes biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, cellular and developmental biology, evolution and ecology, neurosciences, medical sciences, and microbiology and immunology.
Social and Behavioral Sciences (60 new members), including psychological sciences; economics; political science; law; anthropology and archeology; sociology, demography and geography; and education.
Humanities and Arts (55 new members), including such fields as philosophy and religious studies, history, literature and language studies, literature, visual arts, and performing arts.
Leadership, Policy, and Communications (33 new members), which includes journalism, media and communications; business, corporate and philanthropic leadership; educational and academic leadership; public affairs and pubic policy; and scientific, cultural and nonprofit leadership.
Among the more recognizable names in this year’s class are actress Glenn Close, author Salman Rushdie, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack, Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley, writer Sandra Cisneros, painter Sam Gilliam, and retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and president of the Brookings Institution John R. Allen.
The Academy maintains – at its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts – a gallery of the letters written by individuals accepting their election to membership. Some are typed, others handwritten, at least one is composed entirely with emojis. Ranging from elaborate to simple, the letters give a sense of what being elected to the Academy has meant for the honorees and some insight into the work that’s shaped their lives and careers.