Three UW-Madison scholars elected to prestigious academy

April 20, 2012 By David Tenenbaum

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, has selected three University of Wisconsin–Madison scholars for induction into the 2012 class.

As in the past, the academy has chosen leaders from the realms of arts, academics, business, philanthropy and public service for its latest group.

The UW–Madison awardees are:

  • Robert Fettiplace, Steenbock Professor of neural and behavioral sciences, focuses on the mechanisms for detecting and analyzing sounds in hair cells of the inner ear and has devised methods for applying precise mechanical stimuli to explore the proteins responsible for sound detection. His research group has also discovered hair-cell mechanisms for determining the pitch of sounds in different vertebrates. The research is applicable to the widespread phenomenon of deafness due to hair-cell malfunction.
  • Margaret J. McFall-Ngai, professor of medical microbiology and immunology, who has performed groundbreaking studies of host-bacterial symbiosis, especially in regard to a squid that survives courtesy of a complex interaction with a light-producing bacterium. McFall-Ngai has also explored the biology of transparent or reflective tissues, and has a keen interest in the history and development of microbial symbiosis and its impact on biology, which promises to drive an integration across biology as a whole.
  • Steve J. Stern, the Alberto Flores Galindo and Hilldale Professor of history, is a prize-winning historian of Latin America. His recent research focuses on human rights and cultural memory after the “dirty wars” of the 20th century, notably Chile after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, and Peru after the Shining Path war. His books and articles have spanned five centuries and many countries, and have demonstrated the inventiveness of Latin American responses to unequal structures of power, with sometimes surprising impacts on world history.

The induction ceremony will take place Oct. 6 at the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.