Three in Texas Science Elected Fellows of AAAS

February 1, 2023 • by Staff Writer

Scott Aaronson, Catherine Calder and Claus Wilke are now fellows of the world’s largest general scientific society.

Portrait of three people

Three faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences and three others at The University of Texas at Austin have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society.

The honor recognizes important contributions to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — including pioneering research, leadership within a given field, fostering collaborations and advancing public understanding of science.


The new fellows join more than 49 colleagues at the university who have earned the lifetime distinction. Nationally, AAAS elected 505 new fellows this year.


"I am tremendously proud of our newly elected AAAS fellows," said Daniel Jaffe, vice president for research. "They join an exclusive group of scientists and engineers nationwide, based on their significant contributions to STEM research. Having so many high-performing scholars at UT Austin underlines the impact of the institution and enriches the quality of both the research and our teaching."


This year's AAAS fellows hail from the College of Natural Sciences, the Cockrell School of Engineering and the School of Information.


Scott Aaronson is a professor and the Schlumberger Centennial Chair of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science. His research interests center around the capabilities and limits of quantum computers, and computational complexity theory more generally. He has won numerous awards throughout his career, most recently the 2020 Association for Computing Machinery Prize for groundbreaking contributions to quantum computing.


Catherine A. Calder is the chair of the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences. Her research focuses on the development of statistical methodology for spatial and relational data. Much of her current work is motivated by and applied to problems that fall under the umbrella of exposure/contextual effects analysis, with applications in the social, environmental and health sciences.


Claus O. Wilke is chair and professor of integrative biology and holds the Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Professorship in Molecular Evolution. In 2019, Wilke published the book "Fundamentals of Data Visualization," which provides a concise introduction to effectively visualizing many different types of data sets. He has published extensively in the areas of computational biology, molecular evolution, protein biochemistry and virology and created several popular computational packages used for data visualization.


Valeri Roxanne Bogucka, an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Information, has worked with many Natural Sciences researchers and students over the years and is another newly named fellow. She is active in science communication and public engagement efforts and the convener of the UT Science Communication Interest Group. Her most recent research includes academic librarians' participation in nonlibrary conferences and organizations, such as AAAS, and validation of bibliographic database search strategies. She retired from her position as the STEM liaison librarian for health sciences. While in that position she produced the UT Libraries' outreach programs, Research Speed-Dating and Research + Pizza.


These new fellows are joined by Diana Marculescuchair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Pengyu Ren, a biomedical engineering professor, as well as the fellows from other institutions. They will be featured in the AAAS News & Notes section of the February issue of Science and will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., this summer.