College Scientists Recognized by AAAS

11/03/04
The world’s largest general scientific society elects USC faculty members as Fellows for significant advancements in their fields. The honor bestowed upon scholars by their peers has been a tradition since 1874.
By Eva Emerson
USC geneticist Susan L. Forsburg was among this year's AAAS honorees, bringing the total number of AAAS Fellows at USC to 56.

Photo/Phil Channing
Three USC scientists have been elected as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Washington, D.C.-based scientific society has announced.

The university’s newest AAAS Fellows are all faculty members in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and include:

geneticist Susan L. Forsburg, associate professor of biological sciences;
surface chemist Bruce E. Koel, professor of chemistry and materials science; and
physical chemist Curt Wittig, holder of the Paul A. Miller Chair in Letters, Arts and Sciences and professor of chemistry.

This year’s honorees bring the total number of AAAS Fellows at USC to 56.

“These awards highlight the quality of both our longtime faculty and our more recent hires,” said Joseph Aoun, dean of the college and holder of the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair. “I commend professors Wittig, Koel and Forsburg on their well-deserved honor.”

The college scientists are among 308 scholars named Fellows this year. According to the AAAS, “these individuals have been elevated to this rank because of their efforts to advance science or its applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.”

Forsburg, whom the college recently recruited from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego as part of the Senior Faculty Hiring Initiative, was elected for “developing and disseminating pioneering tools related to the use of S. pombe fission yeast in fundamental studies of replication of DNA and chromosome dynamics.”

Koel was cited for his “distinguished contributions to the field of surface science, particularly for studies of the site-directed chemistry on Pt-Sn alloys and discovery of new structure-reactivity principles.”

Wittig was elected for his “contributions to the areas of photo-initiated processes in weakly bound clusters and intramolecular dynamics of small polyatomic molecules, particularly unimolecular decomposition.”

“It is very gratifying that the excellence of our faculty is recognized by such a distinguished institution as the American Association for the Advancement of Science,” said chemistry department chair Hanna Reisler, holder of the Gabilan Endowed Chair for Women in Science and Engineering and professor of chemistry.

“Professor Wittig is internationally known for his pioneering studies of molecular dynamics and Professor Koel for his research in surface chemistry. We are very proud of them,” Reisler said.

Marine evolutionary biologist Joel W. Martin of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, who is an adjunct professor of biological sciences in the college, was also elected a Fellow.

Martin was honored for his “distinguished and vital research in crustacean evolution and systematics.”

The 2004 Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a rosette pin in February at the Fellows Forum during the 2005 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon scholars by their peers and has been a tradition of the society since 1874.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal, Science. Founded in 1848, AAAS fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education and more.