CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 18, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' commitment to recognizing and celebrating excellence, 213 individuals in a wide range of disciplines and professions have been elected as members of the Class of 2018. Founded in 1780, the Academy honors exceptional scholars, leaders, artists, and innovators and engages them in sharing knowledge and addressing challenges facing the world.
The new members of the Academy were elected in 25 categories and are affiliated with 125 institutions. The 2018 Class includes author Ta-Nehisi Coates; artist and scholar David C. Driskell; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Chair Katherine G. Farley; philosopher Robert Gooding-Williams; actor Tom Hanks; Netflix, Inc. CEO W. Reed Hastings, Jr.; Librarian of Congress Carla D. Hayden; Lockheed Martin Corporation CEO Marillyn A. Hewson; historian Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham; computational linguist Julia B. Hirschberg; economist Hilary Hoynes; Buddhist scholar Matthew T. Kapstein; Indigenous studies scholar K. Tsianina Lomawaima; novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen; 44th President of the United States Barack H. Obama; NASA climatologist Claire L. Parkinson; physicist David J. Pine; philanthropist and entrepreneur Laurene Powell Jobs; Supreme Court Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor; sculptor and installation artist Jessica Stockholder; gene editing developer Feng Zhang; and pediatric neurologist Huda Y. Zoghbi.
The 36 international honorary members from 20 countries include British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell; Ethiopian Tedros A. Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization based in Switzerland; Finnish ecologist Johanna Mappes; biodiversity scholar Pablo Marquet from Chile; President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee David W. Miliband, who is a former Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom; Kazuo Miyamoto, an archaeologist in Japan; and Esther D. Mwaikambo, a maternal and child health expert leading the Tanzania Academy of Sciences.
"Membership in the Academy is not only an honor, but also an opportunity and a responsibility," said 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."
The Academy's projects and publications generate ideas and offer recommendations to advance the public good in the arts, citizenship, education, energy, government, the humanities, international relations, science, and more.
"This class of 2018 is a testament to the Academy's ability to both uphold our 238-year commitment to honor exceptional individuals and to recognize new expertise," said Nancy C. Andrews, the Chair of the Board of the American Academy. "John Adams, James Bowdoin, and other founders did not imagine climatology, econometrics, gene regulation, nanostructures, or Netflix. They did, however, have a vision that the Academy would be dedicated to new knowledge – and these new members help us achieve that goal."
The new class will be inducted at a ceremony in October 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and join the Academy members who came before them, including Benjamin Franklin (elected 1781) and Alexander Hamilton (1791) in the eighteenth century; Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848), and Charles Darwin (1874) in the nineteenth; and Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959), and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1966) in the twentieth.