University of Texas at Austin faculty members Richard Aldrich and William Roger Louis have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The academy, founded in 1780, recognizes international achievement in science, the arts, business and public leadership. The organization has brought together the nation’s leading figures from universities, government, business and the creative arts to exchange ideas and promote knowledge in the public interest.
Aldrich, the Karl Folkers Chair in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research II and department chair of neurobiology, directs his research toward understanding the mechanisms of ion channel function in neurons and the role of ion channels in electrical signaling and physiology. Ion channels are responsible for the conversion of external sensory signals to the electrical language of the nervous system and for the integration of these signals to generate appropriate behavior. They are also important for the generation and regulation of the heartbeat, for contraction of muscles and for the release of hormones in the bloodstream.
He is a member of the university’s Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology and Center for Learning and Memory and a member of the National Academy of Science.
Louis, the Kerr Chair in English History and Culture and director of the university’s British Studies Program, is a leading scholar of British history. He is the author or editor of more than 30 books on the history, literature and politics of the British Empire. The latest is “Burnt Orange Britannia,” a collection of autobiographical essays by top historians and scholars of the British experience.
Among his many accomplishments, Louis was president of the American Historical Association in 2001 and is editor-in-chief of The Oxford History of the British Empire. In 2009 students at the university selected him as the Professor of the Year.
View the list of 2011 fellows on the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Web site.