Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Three faculty members elected to National Academy of Sciences

Three professors have been elected members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for their excellence in original scientific research, the NAS announced Tuesday.

Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. Professors David Meyer (psychology), Alan Gibbard (philosophy) and Yu Xie (sociology) will be inducted into the academy next April during its 147th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The three were elected with 69 others, bringing the number of U-M faculty elected to NAS to 23. Currently, there are just more than 2,000 active NAS members. Renowned members include Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright, and Alexander Graham Bell. more 180 living academy members have won Nobel Prizes.

More about this year’s U-M winners:

David Meyer, a nationally renowned expert on multi-tasking, is director of the Department of Psychology’s Brain Cognition and Action Laboratory. His research has also dealt with fundamental aspects of human perception, attention, learning, memory, language, movement control, reaction time, personality and cognitive style, cognitive aging, cognitive neuroscience, human-computer interaction, executive mental control, mathematical models, and computational models.

Allan Gibbard, Richard B. Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy, specializes in ethical theory. The author of “Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: A Theory of Normative Judgment” (1990) and “Thinking How to Live” (2003), he also has worked in normative ethics, in the theory of social choice (which straddles philosophy, economics, and political science), and to some degree in the philosophy of language and metaphysics. His current research centers on claims that the concept of meaning is a normative concept.

Yu Xie, Otis Dudley Duncan Distinguished University Professor of Sociology, has focused on statistical methods, demography and social stratification, along with the sociology of science. He also is affiliated with the Department of Statistics, the Population Studies Center, the Survey Research Center of the Institute for Social Research and the Center for Chinese Studies.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furthering science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Established in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences has served to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.

For more information, or for the full list of newly elected members, go to