American Academy of Arts and Sciences Elects Three NYU Faculty as 2024 Fellows

June 14, 2024

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has elected three New York University faculty as 2024 fellows: Glennys R. Farrar, a professor in the Department of Physics; André A. Fenton, a professor and chair of the Center for Neural Science; and Rachel L. Swarns, a professor in the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. The complete list of individuals elected in 2024, including 25 International Honorary Members, is available on the academy’s website. Her work has addressed the nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and the origin of the asymmetry between matter and antimatter. Rachel L. Swarns, an associate professor of journalism, is a contributing writer for the New York Times whose research focuses on slavery and its legacies. She also penned American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2012) and co-authored Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2017.)

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has elected three New York University faculty as 2024 fellows: Glennys R. Farrar, a professor in the Department of Physics; André A. Fenton, a professor and chair of the Center for Neural Science; and Rachel L. Swarns, a professor in the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. 

“We honor these artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders in the public, non-profit, and private sectors for their accomplishments and for the curiosity, creativity, and courage required to reach new heights,” said David Oxtoby, president of the academy. “We invite these exceptional individuals to join in the Academy’s work to address serious challenges and advance the common good.”

Among the 250 academy members elected this year are New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie, Apple CEO Tim Cook, actor George Clooney, novelist Kim Thúy, and artist Rachel Harrison. The complete list of individuals elected in 2024, including 25 International Honorary Members, is available on the academy’s website.

Glennys R. Farrar, a theoretical physicist whose research spans particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology, has made multiple breakthroughs including demonstrating that quarks are real and not just mathematical constructs, and developing key techniques to search for new phenomena at the Large Hadron Collider and with other instruments. Her work has addressed the nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and the origin of the asymmetry between matter and antimatter. She and her students revealed the structure of the magnetic halo of the Milky Way and discovered the first examples of stars being consumed by supermassive black holes. Her current research is predominantly devoted to detecting Dark Matter with cosmological and experimental probes, discovering the origin of ultra-high energy cosmic rays and understanding the large-scale structure of the Galactic magnetic field.

André A. Fenton, a neuroscientist who studies how the brain stores experiences as memories and how it works to separate relevant from irrelevant information, has devised cognitive training methods for mice that can enhance the brain’s information processing, enabling “learning to learn.” His laboratory has also uncovered how distinct memories of similar events are represented in the brain and pinpointed a system that allows brain circuits to switch between processing current and recollected information—akin to how railroad switches control a train’s destination. With colleagues, Fenton also identified PKMzeta as a core molecular mechanism for how neurons store the information in memory, persistently for months despite the proteins degrading in days. In addition, Fenton’s work with mutant mice investigates how the genetic defect that causes Fragile X syndrome affects the process of learning and the coordination of information in the electrical activity of neurons that is a mixture of stored memories, environmental circumstances, and current state of mind.

Rachel L. Swarns, an associate professor of journalism, is a contributing writer for the New York Times whose research focuses on slavery and its legacies. She is the author of The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church (Random House, 2023), which emerged from her Times articles about Georgetown University’s roots in slavery, a series that touched off a national conversation about American universities and their ties to this history. She also penned American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2012) and co-authored Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2017.) Her newest project, “Hidden Legacies: Slavery, Race, and the Making of 21st Century America,” aims to deepen Americans’ understanding of the connections between slavery and contemporary institutions.

Academy members have included: Benjamin Franklin (1781), Alexander Hamilton (1791), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848), Charles Darwin (1874), Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959), Martin Luther King, Jr. (1966), Antonin Scalia (2003), Judy Woodruff (2012), John Legend (2017), Viet Thanh Nguyen (2018), James Fallows (2019), Joan Baez (2020), Sanjay Gupta (2021), Wesley Morris (2022), and Xuedong Huang (2023).

Alternate media contact:
Alison Franklin, [email protected]

The source of this news is from New York University

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