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Libchaber and Young elected to National Academy of Sciences

Albert J. Libchaber, head of Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Experimental Condensed Matter Physics, and Michael W. Young, head of the Laboratory of Genetics, were elected to the National Academy of Sciences during its 144th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. this morning. The Rockefeller scientists are among 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 12 countries who were chosen for distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Detlev W. Bronk Professor Albert Libchaber studies mathematical patterns in biological systems, applying nonlinear dynamics to the interactive relationships between organisms and their environments — such as fish swimming in water — and to the organism at the cellular and molecular level. Libchaber came to Rockefeller in 1994. He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been previously honored with such awards as the Wolf Foundation Prize in Physics and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Richard and Jeanne Fisher Professor Michael Young, who is also vice president for academic affairs at Rockefeller, focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms in the fruit fly. His research has implications for greater understanding of sleep and mood disorders as well as the biological processes behind learning and memory, visual functions, locomotion and metabolism. Young joined the Rockefeller faculty as part of The Rockefeller University Fellows program in 1978. He is also a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the Genetics Society of America. In 1998 the journal Science named his discovery of a gene that regulates sleep/wake cycles and related work on circadian rhythms a “Breakthrough of the Year.”

“I am especially glad to congratulate Albert Libchaber and Michael Young. Membership in the National Academy of Sciences remains one of the most prestigious honors bestowed upon scientists in this country, and highly deserved in the case of two such innovative and dedicated researchers,” says Paul Nurse, Rockefeller University president.

The Rockefeller faculty now includes 35 members or foreign associates of the National Academy of Sciences, an organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. The academy was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by President Abraham Lincoln that calls on the academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government in matters of science and technology. With today’s election, the academy includes a total of 2,025 members and 387 foreign associates.