Barrett, Leibovich and Walsh named AAAS fellows for 2016

Three Cornell faculty members have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

The association elected 391 new fellows for 2016, awarding the honor for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New fellows will receive their official honors Feb. 18 at the AAAS annual meeting in Boston.

Cornell’s 2016 AAAS fellows are Chris Barrett, the Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management, international professor of agriculture and professor of economics; Sidney Leibovich, Ph.D. ’65, the Samuel B. Eckert Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering; and Dr. Thomas Walsh, professor of medicine, medicine in pediatrics, and microbiology and immunology.

Barrett, who is also deputy dean and dean of academic affairs at the Cornell College of Business, was chosen for his contributions to the field of agricultural and development economics, particularly for fieldwork to study poverty traps, markets in low-income countries and food insecurity.

Barrett’s fundamental research objective is to help reduce unnecessary human suffering manifest in ill health, malnutrition, poverty and vulnerability to disasters. These challenges afflict rural populations in Africa and Asia disproportionately, so his group’s work focuses mainly on those regions.

He joined the Cornell faculty in 1998 after four years on faculty at Utah State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton, his master’s from Oxford and his dual doctorate in economics and agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994. Barrett has published 15 books and more than 280 journal articles or book chapters that have collectively been cited more than 21,000 times.

He has been principal investigator or co-investigator on more than $30 million in research grants from sponsors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the National Science Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Leibovich was honored for his contributions to theories of vortex dynamics, hydrodynamic stability, wave propagation in fluids and geophysical fluid dynamics, especially the dynamics of the upper ocean.

His research focus has been on concentrated vortex flows, their transition via the phenomenon of vortex breakdown, and phenomenology underlying breakdown including hydrodynamic stability theory and nonlinear wave propagation. Another area of great interest to him has been the stability of the upper ocean and the vertical mixing of momentum, heat and matter by Langmuir circulations, a motion caused by interaction of surface waves and shear in a water column.

Having earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from California Institute of Technology, Leibovich earned his doctorate in theoretical and applied mechanics from Cornell in 1965. He joined the Cornell faculty after a year as a NATO postdoctoral fellow in mathematics at the University of London. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Leibovich is also a member of the editorial board of Acta Mechanica.

Walsh was honored for his contributions to medical mycology through major advances in antifungal pharmacology, innate host defenses, molecular diagnosis, dedicated mentoring, organizational service and life-saving patient care.

Walsh earned a bachelor’s degree from Assumption College and his medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1978. He has published extensively in journals including Cornea, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Clinical Microbiology and Infection, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Clinical and Experimental Immunology, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Clinical Imaging, Blood, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Mycoses, and Journal of Clinical Virology.

Walsh has been awarded research grants by sponsors including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Save Our Sick Kids Foundation, Sharpe Family Foundation, Duke University, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

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Melissa Osgood