Three USC Dornsife professors have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), recognizing their contributions to science and technology.
AAAS — known colloquially as “Triple A-S” — is an international professional association for scientists. It is perhaps best known to the public for publishing the journal Science, which has an estimated total readership of 1 million people, according to the AAAS Web site. The new inductees’ names will be announced in Science on Dec. 23.
Donal Manahan, professor of biological sciences; Anthony Michaels, professor of biological sciences; and Mathew McCubbins, provost professor of business, law and political economy with a joint appointment in USC Dornsife’s Department of Political Science, were among this year’s 539 inductees.
These three selected scholars bring the number of USC Dornsife AAAS fellows to 33.
Manahan, who also serves as vice dean of students in USC Dornsife, was elected as an AAAS fellow for his “distinguished contributions in research and teaching” in the physiology and environmental adaptation of marine animals.
“I consider it a great honor to have been elected as an AAAS fellow,” Manahan said. “I’m particularly pleased that my contributions to both research and teaching were recognized by AAAS.”
Manahan teaches environmental physiology on a wide spectrum of levels, from freshmen to Ph.D. students. He also conducts extensive postdoctoral training. In 1994, Manahan founded the National Science Foundation-sponsored International Graduate Training Course in Integrative Biology and Adaptation of Antarctic Marine Organisms, the first training course of its kind offered in Antarctica, and has directed the program for the past 17 years.
In 2000, an international committee named a peak after Manahan located in a famous part of Antarctica — near where Sir Ernest Shackleton and Captain Robert F. Scott started their treks toward the South Pole — for Manahan’s contributions to research and education on the continent. He has been the chief scientist on more than 20 expeditions.
As a faculty member, he has held various administrative positions in USC Dornsife, including: chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, dean of research, and director of the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies. In addition, he has been chair of the U.S. National Academies’ Polar Research Board and served on the National Science Foundation’s Decadal Group-Planning Committee for Ocean Sciences.
“I feel very passionately that as a professor and scientist it is my responsibility to pay equal attention to research and teaching the next generation of students,” Manahan said.
Michaels focuses on marine and environmental research on the global carbon cycle and the role of the oceans in absorbing carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. He was selected for “distinguished and visionary contributions to biological oceanography, science administration and the application of environmental science accomplishments in the business world.”
“I am incredibly honored by this and humbled by the extent to which I owe any success to the efforts of others,” Michaels said. “This honor belongs equally to the hardworking staff and faculty of the USC Wrigley Institute and to the vision of the Wrigley family and the many other donors who supported its growth.”
From 1996 to 2008, Michaels was director of the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies. Housed in USC Dornsife, the institute has created many important programs to connect USC research and education to the needs of society. He was also the founding president of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, a professional organization for leaders of academic environmental programs that now involves more than 140 universities and colleges nationwide.
Since Michaels and his USC colleagues created a mechanism for rapid commercialization of new environmental technologies, Michaels has been implementing that strategy by founding Proteus. There he helps to create and manage a portfolio of companies with technologies in a wide range of environmental areas including waste treatment, green energy and fuels, sustainable seafood and clean water. He is currently on leave from the USC while he pursues this path.
Successful commercial development of a new innovation is one of the most effective mechanisms to allow university scholarship to make a rapid, positive change in society, Michaels said.
McCubbins holds joint appointments in USC Dornsife, USC Marshall School of Business, USC Gould School of Law, where he directs the USC-Caltech Center for the Study of Law and Politics. He also holds courtesy appointments at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences at the California Institute of Technology as well as an adjunct appointment in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. He was selected “for distinguished contributions in the study of political science, legislative organization and behavior, bureaucratic accountability and the positive political theory of law.”
McCubbins joined the USC faculty in 2010 after serving as distinguished professor in political science at UC San Diego, where he held the Chancellor’s Associates Endowed Chair. A nationally recognized interdisciplinary scholar, McCubbins is a leading expert on government regulatory agencies and the organization and behavior of legislatures.
He has made important contributions to understanding communication in organizations and is regarded as one of the founders of the positive political theory of law (PPTL), a theory in legal scholarship that has developed over the past 25 years. PPTL is built upon the insight that law is simply a form of policy. Lawmaking, like policymaking, can therefore be modeled as a game of strategy, in which members of Congress, the president, judges, administrators, political parties and citizens seek to achieve their goals in the face of institutional constraints and imperfect information.
McCubbins is also an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a former fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the behavioral sciences.
In February 2012, the new fellows will be presented with a certificate and a blue and gold (symbolizing science and engineering) rosette pin at the AAAS annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada.