Search form

University of Virginia UVA Arts & Sciences Default

Prestigious Science Organization Recognizes 4 More Professors as Fellows

Dec 01, 2020 |

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has named four University of Virginia professors among its 2020 class of fellows. Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

The University’s latest fellows of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, from left: James H. Lambert, Angeline Lillard, Patricia L. Wiberg and Karen Hunger Parshall

The honored faculty members are: James H. Lambert, professor of engineering systems and environment and director of the Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems; Angeline Lillard, professor of psychology and director of UVA’s Early Development Lab; Karen Hunger Parshall, professor of history and mathematics; and Patricia L. Wiberg, professor of environmental sciences.

Their elections bring to 42 the number of UVA faculty members named as AAAS fellows. The recognition is regarded as a prestigious distinction among scientists. The world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the prestigious journal Science and other prominent journals, AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science serving 10 million individuals.

According to the AAAS announcement, Lambert was elected a fellow for “distinguished contributions to the field of risk analysis, particularly using systems engineering tools to address critical infrastructure risk and resilience,” which refers to the ability of systems to continue functioning despite crises and disruptions.

Throughout his nearly 25 years at UVA, Lambert’s scholarship and involvement in risk and resilience analysis in international forums have made him a world leader in his field. He invented the application of scenario‐based preferences (evaluating the disruption of a system’s priorities by emergent and future conditions) in risk and resilience analysis for science‐based policymaking.

In addition to serving as director of the Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems, Lambert directs the UVA site of the National Science Foundation Center for Hardware and Embedded Systems Security and Trust, a capacity in which he is seeking funding to apply his expertise in supply chain logistics and security to support worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. His work has been applied across the globe to disaster resilience, energy infrastructure, coastal protection, economic development, transportation, worldwide container freight systems, biofuels, wireless broadband for public safety and Olympics planning.

Lambert has led more than 60 sponsored projects totaling more than $25 million in research funding, and is principal investigator in eight active UVA projects. A fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Lambert has been a lead organizer and contributor to conferences in the United States and abroad. In 2019, he chaired the Fifth World Congress on Risk, convening more than 300 scientists in Cape Town, South Africa.

The AAAS recognized Lillard for her “distinguished contributions to developmental science in theory of mind, children’s play, and education, and particularly for establishing the scientific basis of Montessori schooling.”

An expert in Montessori education, Lillard said her longtime goal as a researcher has been to help all children flourish to their full potential. In that effort, Lillard discovered how century-old Montessori education methods are validated by modern developmental science. Studying these methods in public schools, where children were randomly assigned to high-fidelity Montessori programs or attended other – often traditional – programs, she found the Montessori approach led to better outcomes.

In 1999, the American Psychological Association presented her its Boyd McCandless Award, which recognizes young scientists who have made distinguished contributions to developmental psychology. Lillard also has been named a fellow of the APA and the Association for Psychological Science and was a James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Fellow.

Her 2017 book, “Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius,” won the Cognitive Development Society Book Award. Today, she and her collaborators study optimal educational environments for whole child development, and are in the process of establishing, with UVA’s Equity Center and community partners, a research-based child care center for low-income Charlottesville families. 

The AAAS recognized Parshall for her “outstanding contributions to the history of mathematics, combined with extraordinary service to the mathematical and historical sciences.”

As Commonwealth Professor of History and Mathematics at UVA, Parshall holds joint appointments in those departments within the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. The author of four books, one monograph, four co-edited volumes and more than 50 research papers, Parshall has focused her research on two primary themes: the evolution of mathematics in the United States and the history of algebra. Her forthcoming book, “The American Mathematical Research Community, 1920-1950: A New Era in the Development of Our Science,” will be published in 2021 by Princeton University Press.

Since the 1990s, she has been actively involved with Historia Mathematica, an international journal for the history of mathematics, and also served as a member of the councils of the American Mathematical Society and of the History of Science Society. In January, she will begin a five-year term as co-editor-in-chief of The Mathematical Intelligencer, a general-interest journal that treats mathematics and mathematicians as well as the history and culture of mathematics. Parshall’s research has been supported by both the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Science Foundation’s Program for Visiting Professorships for Women. In 2018, she was honored with the American Mathematical Society’s Albert Leon Whiteman Memorial Prize in the history of mathematics.  

“I am deeply honored that the American Association for the Advancement of Science has honored my work by naming me one of its fellows,” Parshall says. “It is humbling to think that I now share this honor with some of the seminal 19th- and 20th-century figures – Eliakim Hastings Moore and Oswald Veblen, among others – whose contributions to American mathematics have been the focus of so much of my research.”

The AAAS recognized Wiberg for “distinguished contributions to understanding the causes and consequences of sediment movements in aquatic systems.”

An oceanographer, she studies the processes that create and maintain coastal environments such as salt marshes and tidal flats, and the effects of disturbance (storms, sea-level rise, temperature increases) on those environments. Most of Wiberg’s ongoing work is related to UVA’s long-term research program in the coastal barrier-bay system on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Her research has been published in a variety of scientific journals, including Oceanography, Continental Shelf Research and Earth-Science Reviews.

“The notification from AAAS took me totally by surprise,” Wiberg said. “I am honored to have been selected as a fellow and am truly grateful to the colleagues who nominated me, knowing how much time and effort goes in to putting together a successful nomination.”

This year, AAAS elected 489 members. Their names were formally announced in the Nov. 27 issue of Science. A virtual induction ceremony for the new fellows will be held Feb. 13.