Levine named fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Levine named fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Rice University biophysicist Herbert Levine has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences — one of the nation’s foremost scholarly honors.

Founded in 1780, the academy is among the oldest and most prestigious honorary societies in the country. The society’s list of current and former members includes Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and the honorary chairman and the founding director of Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, James A. Baker III and Edward Djerejian, respectively.

Herbert Levine

Herbert Levine

The 2012 class of 220 members and 17 foreign honorary members includes Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood, Amazon.com founder Jeffrey Bezos as well as winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal and Academy and Grammy awards.

Levine, professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), will join Rice’s faculty as the Hasselmann Professor of Bioengineering this summer. Levine is co-director of the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics located at Rice and UCSD and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Physics Frontiers Centers program.

“I am honored to be included among such a distinguished and diverse group of contributors to our society,” Levine said. “And in what other context would I ever be compared to Clint Eastwood?”

Levine specializes in research on pattern formation in nonequilibrium systems, an area with applications for a wide variety of biological systems. For example, he developed new theoretical approaches that help explain the directed motion of eukaryotic cells. He is also one of the originators of the “microscopic solvability” approach to diffusively unstable systems, which helped revolutionize scientists’ understanding of several phenomena, including the structures that bacteria create when they colonize surfaces and form antibiotic resistant biofilms.

Levine has both a doctorate and a master’s degree in physics from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a member of the National Academy of Science, a fellow of the American Physical Society and a past chair of the American Physical Society’s Division of Biological Physics.

The academy’s 2012 class of fellows also includes Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Neil Simon, television journalist Judy Woodruff and philanthropist Melinda Gates. This year’s foreign honorary members include British recording artist Paul McCartney.

The new class of fellows will be inducted Oct. 6 in Cambridge, Mass. More information is available at http://www.amacad.org/.

About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.