The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has elected four New York University faculty as fellows.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) has elected four New York University faculty as fellows: Sylvain Cappell, a professor in the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences; Ta-Nehisi Coates, a distinguished writer in residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute; David Pine, professor of physics in the Faculty of Arts and Science and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Tandon School of Engineering; and Diana Taylor, a professor of performance studies and Spanish.

Other AAAS fellows selected this year include the following: former President Barack Obama; Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; actor Tom Hanks; and novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen. 

“Membership in the Academy is not only an honor, but also an opportunity and a responsibility,” says Jonathan Fanton, president of the American Academy. “Members can be inspired and engaged by connecting with one another and through Academy projects dedicated to the common good. The intellect, creativity, and commitment of the 2018 Class will enrich the work of the Academy and the world in which we live.”

Cappell, Julius Silver Professor of Mathematics, has authored more than 100 scientific publications that include research on geometric topology, which considers the geometry of shapes and forms in many dimensions and is used in the fields of theoretical physics and robotics, among other areas, and is foundational to other sectors of mathematics. Cappell has been awarded both Sloan Foundation and Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships and is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, which recently recognized him with its 2018 Award for Distinguished Public Service.

Coates is a national correspondent for the Atlantic and the author of the best-selling books The Beautiful Struggle (Spiegel & Grau, 2008), We Were Eight Years in Power (One World, 2017), and Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, 2015), which won the National Book Award in 2015. Since 2016, Coates, a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, has written the Black Panther comic book and has recently begun writing Marvel’s Captain America comic book—the first issue is slated for release on July 4, 2018. 

Pine has made breakthroughs in the area of soft mesoscopic materials—those a micrometer in size (or about 1/200th the width of a strand of a human hair). These include the creation of techniques that prompt micro-particles to form ordered structures in a variety of materials—an advance that offers a method to improve micro-lasers and optical communications. Pine, who has published more than 100 articles, has been a Guggenheim Fellow and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Physical Society.

A University Professor at NYU, Taylor is the founding director of NYU’s Hemispheric Institute and a professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures and in the Department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts. Taylor, who has been a Guggenheim Fellow, has authored Performance, which has been published in both Spanish (Asuntos Impresos, 2012) and English (Duke University Press, 2016), as well as Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in Latin America (University Press of Kentucky, 1991) and The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas (Duke University Press, 2003), both award-winning works, and Disappearing Acts: Spectacles of Gender and Nationalism in Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’ (Duke University Press, 1997), among other publications.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony this October in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

AAAS members have included Benjamin Franklin (1781), Alexander Hamilton (1791), Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848), Charles Darwin (1874), Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959), and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1966).