Daniel Schrag, ESPP Board of Tutors Professor, was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research. Professor Schrag is the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology, Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, co-director of the Program on Science, Technology and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and director of the Center for the Environment. Schrag studies climate change over the broadest range of Earth’s history, including how climate change and the chemical evolution of the atmosphere influenced the evolution of life in the past, and what steps might be taken to prepare for impacts of climate change in the future. He served from 2009 to 2017 on President Obama’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology (PCAST), contributing to many reports to the President including energy technology and national energy policy, agricultural preparedness, climate change, and STEM education.
“One of the reasons to honor extraordinary achievement is because the pursuit of excellence is so often accompanied by disappointment and self-doubt,” said David W. Oxtoby 72, the president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “We are pleased to recognize the excellence of our new members, celebrate their compelling accomplishments, and invite them to join the academy and contribute to its work.”
The academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, and others who believed the new republic should honor exceptionally accomplished individuals and engage them in advancing the public good. The academy’s dual mission remains essentially the same 239 years later, with honorees from increasingly diverse fields and with the work now focused on the arts, democracy, education, global affairs, and science.
“With the election of these members, the academy upholds the ideals of research and scholarship, creativity and imagination, intellectual exchange and civil discourse, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge in all its forms,” said Oxtoby.
“While the work of this class includes work never imagined in 1780 — such as cultural studies, cybersecurity, disease ecology, nanotechnology, paleoclimatology, and superconductivity — these members embody the founders’ vision of cultivating knowledge that advances, in their words, a ‘free, virtuous, and independent people,’” said Nancy C. Andrews, board chair of the American Academy.
The new class will be inducted at a ceremony in October in Cambridge and join the academy members who came before them, including Benjamin Franklin (elected 1781) and Alexander Hamilton (1791); Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848), and Charles Darwin (1874); Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959), and Martin Luther King Jr. (1966); and more recently Antonin Scalia (2003), Michael Bloomberg (2007), John Lithgow ’67 (2010), Judy Woodruff (2012), Bryan Stevenson (2014), and former President Barack Obama, J.D. ’91 (2018).
For more information on the 12 Harvard faculty elected to the Academy, please see the Harvard Gazette story here.