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Two Alumni Elected Members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

May. 08, 2008

By Betty Gabrielli


Philip C. Hanawalt ’54 and Scott Sagan ’77, members of the faculty at Stanford University, have been elected new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), one of the country's oldest honorary learned societies.

Founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholar-patriots, the Academy "honors excellence by electing to membership remarkable men and women who have made preeminent contributions to their fields, and to the world," Academy President Emilio Bizzi said in a statement. "We are pleased to welcome into the Academy these new members to help advance our founders' goal of 'cherishing knowledge and shaping the future.'"

A professor of biology, Hanawalt has been a researcher in the field of DNA repair since his pioneering discovery of repair replication in E. coli in 1963. Since then he has developed a number of important experimental approaches for studying the repair of DNA, which he used to document the first example of a human hereditary disease due to a deficiency in DNA repair.

Hanawalt and his colleagues discovered that repair of some types of damage is selective; active genes are preferentially repaired by a special repair pathway, termed transcription-coupled repair (TCR), that operates on the transcribed strands of expressed genes. TCR was documented in mammalian cells, in E. coli, and in yeast chromosomal and plasmid borne genes.

The discovery of TCR in Hanawalt's laboratory has had profound implications for the fields of mutagenesis, environmental carcinogenesis, aging, and risk assessment.

Hanawalt is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

He earned a degree in physics at Oberlin College and a PhD in biophysics at Yale University.

Sagan is a professor of political science, co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, and a specialist on global security problems, nuclear nonproliferation, and deterrence theory.

He was this year's recipient of the Deborah Gerner Innovative Teaching in International Studies Award from the International Studies Association.

Sagan was recognized by the association for the international-negotiation simulation that he created and has used in his Stanford courses for more than a decade; it is used now at Duke, Columbia, the University of California-Berkeley, Reed College, and Dartmouth.

His books include Moving Targets, The Limits of Safet, and (with Kenneth Waltz) The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed.

Sagan chaired Stanford's International Relations Program from 1995 to 1997. He has served as a consultant to the Sandia National Laboratory, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Intelligence Council, the Organization of Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

He earned his bachelor's degree in economics and government at Oberlin College and a PhD in government at Harvard University.

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