Six University of Wisconsin professors were elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences April 24. 

The elected faculty include R. Alta Charo of the Law School, Seth Pollak of the Psychology Department, Steven Nadler of the Department of Philosophy, Louise Young of the History Department, Lisa Naughton of the Geography Department and Martin Zanni of the Department of Chemistry, according to UW News. 

Academy president David W. Oxtoby said the six professors were selected due to a combination of their accomplishments and expertise in their respective fields.

“The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in surgical suites, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms,” Oxtoby said. “With today’s election announcement, these new members are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the Academy’s work to advance the public good.”

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The Academy is a society that recognizes what it deems exemplary individuals and nominates over 1300 potential inductees annually. There are then two rounds of voting to narrow down the list of candidates.

The Academy’s Council and the Board of Directors sift through the candidates and determine who will be included in each new class of 250 members.

Each of UW’s newest members has their own unique qualifying research or experience. Charo has been a prominent figure in landscaping medical guidelines and ethics. She recently worked on a set of recommendations for human gene editing. 

Pollak leads a team at the Waisman Center which hopes to use their research to improve the social lives and emotional wellbeing of growing children with a history of childhood trauma. 

Nadler studies early modern and Jewish philosophy. Among the 13 books he has written, one Jewish philosophy novel is a Pulitzer Prize finalist. 

Young researches Japanese history, particularly cultural transitions over time and the wide array of factors driving those transitions. She wrote two books on the subject and is further researching Japan’s transition from a feudal system to a modern class hierarchy. 

Naughton works to connect conservation and sustainability efforts with public responses on a global scale, working in South America and the Midwest. 

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Zanni’s lab investigates biophysics and energy sciences, such as solar cell charge transfer and the protein aggregation in Type 2 Diabetes and cataracts. 

From 1976 to 2019, 59 UW faculty have been elected to the Academy and still serve as members. But this year’s induction of six faculty in a year is new ground for the university, breaking the previous record of four elected members set in 1999.