For more than two centuries, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has honored professional scholars who have made significant contributions to academic fields. This year, two University professors were selected to become members of the prestigious organization.

Scott Page, a professor of political science and economics, and Sharon Glotzer, a professor of chemical engineering, were recently recognized by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for substantial contributions and achievements in their respective fields.

According to their website, the Academy’s purpose is “to elect to membership men and women of exceptional achievement, drawn from science, scholarship, business, public affairs, and the arts, and to conduct a varied program of projects and studies responsive to the needs and problems of society.”

There is no application process for entrance into the AAAS. Instead, scholars are nominated by current Academy members and then go through an internal selection and voting process.

In an email interview, Page wrote that he was surprised when he was notified of his recognition, thinking that the Academy was instead contacting him to contribute to their academic journal, and that when he found out he received widespread encouragement from his co-workers.

“The election was a nice surprise,” Page wrote. “What was even better was the number of congratulatory emails I received from colleagues here at Michigan.”

Page teaches an undergraduate class in complex systems, a major focus of his research, and contributes to two large-scale projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation in addition to serving as a primary investigator and member of multiple research teams.

His research focuses specifically on diversity, and how it affects people in their environment and daily interactions.

“I’m particularly interested in diversity broadly defined — differences in how people think, in the tools they acquire and in what they value,” Page said.

Similarly to Page, Glotzer said she was also enthused upon hearing the news and didn’t believe it at first.

“I read the letter twice to make sure I was reading it right,” Glotzer said. “It was certainly a surprise and an enormous honor.”

In addition to her work as a professor, Glotzer is also involved in many research committees. She recently developed a new course founded on the principles of matter formed by self-assembly called Assembly Science and Engineering.

Glotzer said she is deeply interested in research and working with her students to engineer innovative scientific breakthroughs in the field, adding that she is looking forward to contributing her work to the Academy as well as working with other members of the organization.

“We do a lot of ‘imagineering’ where we envision new, cool structures with novel properties and the building blocks that might form them,” Glotzer said. “Our simulations are often used as guides in the laboratory work of our colleagues and collaborators.”

Page said he values the recognition that his acceptance into the Academy will bring to complex systems as well as to the University.

“It makes me proud to be at University of Michigan,” he said. “I came here as an undergraduate twenty-five years ago. I had amazing professors. Now, as a faculty member, I’m still surrounded by amazing professors.”

Both professors will be officially inducted into the Academy on October 1, 2011 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They will be joining more than 4,000 professionals from across the country who are already in the Academy as well as 218 that will be inducted this year.

Glotzer said she is not only excited about being recognized but also about getting to know the individuals who will be inducted along with her.

“I’m looking forward to the induction ceremony in the fall, and the chance to meet some of the other 2011 inductees, like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and Dave Brubeck,” Glotzer said.

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