Four faculty members of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) are among the 100 new members and 25 foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of "their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

The 2019 NAS class makes history — forty percent of the newly elected members are women, the most ever elected in any one year to date.

This year’s election brings the total number of current SEAS faculty members in the NAS to 22. In addition, 20 have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering and five have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Joanna Aizenberg, the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science and Professor of Chemistry & Chemical Biology. Aizenberg’s research explores the design principles that allow biological organisms to adapt to their changing surroundings.  Her lab studies glass structures in sea sponges, the lens-covered skeleton of brittlestars, and the slime on the top of bacterial colonies to elucidate the relationships between material structure and function. In addition to her role at SEAS, Aizenberg is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology; director of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology, which is based at SEAS; and a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. She is a faculty associate of the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) and an affiliate of the BASF North American Center for Research on Advanced Materials, based at SEAS. She also participates in Harvard’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).

Cynthia Friend, the Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science in SEAS. Friend’s research focuses on important catalytic reactions and designing new materials with key chemical functionality by controlling the chemical and physical properties of interfaces. Her work aims to address global challenges in reducing energy costs and in developing alternative energy sources is critical to the future.  In addition to her role at SEAS, Friend is also the Director of Rowland Institute; Director of the Center for Integrated Mesoscale Architectures for Sustainable Catalysis (IMASC), an Energy Frontier Research Center; a participant in MRSEC; and a faculty associate with the HUCE. Friend holds appointments in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and SEAS.  She also is Vice Chair of the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee in DOE and a member of the Board of Directors of Bruker Instrumentation.

Zhigang Suo, Allen E. and Marilyn M. Puckett Professor of Mechanics and Materials. Suo studies small materials structures and the mechanics of nanofabrication, self-assembly, and durability. Suo and his students aim to create scientific models of small-scale processes that have significant engineering consequences in microelectronics, large-area electronics, soft materials, active materials, and lithium-ion batteries. Suo was Area Dean for Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering at SEAS and a Kavli Scholar at the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science & Technology.

Amir Yacoby, Professor of Physics and of Applied Physics. Yacoby’s research straddles the interface between strongly correlated electron physics, where interactions between electrons lead to emergent phenomena, and quantum information science. His work explores topological quantum computing, interacting electrons in layered materials, spin based quantum computing and the development of novel quantum sensing probes such as scanning single electron transistors and color centers in diamond for unraveling the underlying microscopic physics of correlated electron systems.  Yacoby is a participant in the Center for Integrated Quantum Materials, a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center, based at Harvard and dedicated to studying new quantum materials with "non-conventional" properties that could transform signal processing and computation. Yacoby holds appointments in the Physics Department and in SEAS.