American Academy Inducts singer-songwriter Paul Simon, Patriots CEO Robert Kraft, others
Associated Press; Washington Post, October 1, 2011
Contact: Dennis Nealon
Oct. 1, 2011
American Academy of Arts and Sciences Inducts 231st Class; group includes music legend Paul Simon, New England Patriots’ CEO Robert Kraft
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The American Academy of Arts and Sciences today inducted 177 members, from leading scientists, authors, and business executives, to the heads of academic, philanthropic, and cultural institutions in the United States and abroad.
Legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon and Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group and the New England Patriots, were among the inductees. Simon surprised the crowd with an acoustic performance of "American Tune" from his 1973 album "There Goes Rhymin' Simon."
“Induction recognizes extraordinary individual achievement and marks a commitment on the part of new members to provide fundamental, non-partisan knowledge for addressing today’s complex challenges,” said American Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz.
Founded in 1780, the American Academy is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious learned societies, and an independent research center that draws from its members’ expertise to conduct studies in science and technology policy, global security, the humanities and culture, social policy, and education.
Besides Simon and Kraft, individuals inducted include: biologist Frances Arnold of the California Institute of Technology; Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor of the University of Texas system; novelist Oscar Hijuelos; Linda Katehi, chancellor of the University of California system; Will Miller, president of the Wallace Foundation; geneticist David Page of Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Robert Reischauer of the Urban Institute; Harvard University historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annette Gordon-Reed; British Academy President Sir Adam Roberts; and David Souter, retired associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Foreign Honorary Members from Argentina, India, Israel, Japan, and the United Kingdom were also inducted.
Arnold, a California Institute of Technology researcher, told the gathering that the biotechnology revolution may soon allow scientists to synthesize life from non-living material. “Through ‘synthetic biology’ we have built remarkable new organisms that can convert renewable biomass to fuels and chemicals, organisms that can track down and annihilate pathogens, cells that can grow into desperately needed tissues and organs, or that could feed the planet’s rapidly growing population.”
Roberts, an expert on strategic affairs, said that a major obstacle to better international relations is the tendency to assume “that other societies think like we do and want exactly the same things.” He cautioned against “the seductive claims that globalization is sweeping the world and creating a common culture.”
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