A.J. Stewart Smith, five others named AAAS fellows

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2020
by Staff, Princeton University

A. J. Stewart Smith, who served as Princeton's first dean for research from 2006 to 2013 and is the Class of 1909 Professor of Physics, Emeritus, is one of six Princeton faculty members to be named by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as fellows for 2020, out of 489 chosen worldwide.

These individuals have been elevated to this rank because of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. The public announcement will come in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on Nov. 27.

Smith is recognized in the AAAS physics section for his many contributions to physics, especially for his leadership of the BaBar experiment, which led to discovery of CP violation in the B system. Smith served as scientific spokesperson for BaBar, an international collaboration comprising over 600 scientists and engineers. BaBar found a new example of matter-antimatter asymmetry in nature, which helped explain why the universe contains a slight excess of matter over antimatter, which takes the form of stars, planets and everyday objects.

A 1966 Ph.D. alumnus, Smith has had a remarkable five-decades-long career at Princeton in research, teaching, and administration. He served as chair of the physics department for eight years while conducting experiments at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. He also served as chair of the University Research Board and the vice president of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory from 2013 to 2016.

Smith has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including Brookhaven National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Research Council of Canada. A fellow of the American Physical Society, Smith has worked tirelessly to advise the management of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) on their experimental program. 

The other AAAS fellows are:

three photos

Jason Petta, A.J. Stewart Smith and Nan Yao. Photos of Petta and Yao by Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications; photo of Smith by Elle Starkman, PPPL Office of Communications

Jason Petta, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics, is recognized in the physics section for his seminal contributions to the development of quantum computing devices using semiconducting quantum dots. 

Nan Yao, the founder and director of the Imaging and Analysis Center and a senior research scholar and lecturer with the rank of professor in the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM), is recognized in the general interest in science and engineering section for his outstanding achievements in materials and structural analysis and his distinguished contributions in related education, research and service to advance science and engineering and their applications. 

Three faculty members

Andrea Graham, Isaac Held and Ramanan Laxminarayan. Photos by Sameer A. Khan/Fotobuddy, courtesy of GFDL and by Isometric Studio

Andrea Graham, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and the co-director of the Program in Global Health and Health Policy, is recognized in the biological sciences section for her distinguished contributions to the field of ecological and evolutionary immunology. 

Isaac Held, a senior meteorologist in atmospheric and oceanic sciences and a 1976 Ph.D. alumnus, is recognized in the atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences section for his major scientific advances in atmosphere science, climate and geophysical fluid dynamics.

Ramanan Laxminarayan, a senior research scholar in the High Meadows Environmental Institute and director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy in Washington D.C., is recognized in the societal impacts of science and engineering section for his distinguished contributions to the field of economic epidemiology, with particular reference to the spread and control of antimicrobial resistance.

AAAS fellows usually attend an in-person ceremony in the February after the announcement, but this year’s inductees will be lauded at a virtual Fellows Forum on Feb. 13, 2021. The fellows will also receive an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin (representing science and engineering, respectively) to commemorate their election. 

The tradition of AAAS fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the association’s 24 sections, or by any three fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected. The AAAS Council votes on the final aggregate list. 

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and the publisher of Science family of journals: Science, Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, Science Advances, Science Immunology and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement and more.