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USC College Scientists Recognized by AAAS

USC College Scientists Recognized by AAAS

World’s largest general scientific society honors USC faculty members

By Eva Emerson
October 2004

Three USC scientists have been elected as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Washington, DC-based scientific society.

The university’s newest AAAS Fellows are all faculty members in the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences and include:

  • Geneticist Susan L. Forsburg, associate professor of biological sciences
  • Surface chemist Bruce E. Koel, professor of chemistry and materials science
  • Physical chemist Curt Wittig, the Paul A. Miller Chair in Letters, Arts and Sciences and professor of chemistry

This year’s honorees bring the total number of AAAS Fellows at USC to 56.

"These awards highlight the excellence of both our longtime faculty and our more recent hires," said Joseph Aoun, dean of the College and the Anna H. Bing Dean's Chair. "I commend professors Wittig, Koel and Forsburg on their well-deserved honor."

The College scientists are among 308 scholars named Fellows this year. According to a press release from AAAS, “these individuals have been elevated to this rank because of their efforts to advance science or its applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.”

Forsburg, who the College recently recruited as part of the Senior Faculty Hiring Initiative from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, was elected for “developing and disseminating pioneering tools related to the use of S. pombe fission yeast in fundamental studies of replication of DNA and chromosome dynamics.”

Koel was cited for his “distinguished contributions to the field of surface science, particularly for studies of the site-directed chemistry on Pt-Sn alloys and discovery of new structure-reactivity principles.”

Wittig was elected for his “contributions to the areas of photo-initiated processes in weakly bound clusters and intramolecular dynamics of small polyatomic molecules, particularly unimolecular decomposition.” 

“It is very gratifying that the excellence of our faculty is recognized by such a distinguished institution as the American Association for the Advancement of Science,” said chemistry department chair Hanna Reisler, holder of the Women in Science and Engineering Gabilan Chair and professor of chemistry. “Professor Wittig is internationally known for his pioneering studies of molecular dynamics and Professor Koel for his research in surface chemistry. We are very proud of them.”

Marine evolutionary biologist Joel W. Martin of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, who is an adjunct professor of biological sciences in the College, was also elected a Fellow. Martin was honored for his “distinguished and vital research in crustacean evolution and systematics.”

The 2004 Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a rosette pin in February at the Fellows Forum during the 2005 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon scholars by their peers and has been a tradition of the society since 1874.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal, Science. Founded in 1848, AAAS fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more.