Jack Liu elected to American academy of "thinkers and doers"

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April 18, 2018

A global pioneer in sustainability science, Michigan State University’s Jianguo “Jack” Liu has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Liu, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, was one of 213 new members, including some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, leaders, artists, and innovators.Jianguo "Jack" Liu

The 2018 class also includes 44th President Barack Obama, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen and actor Tom Hanks.

 “I am deeply honored and humbled to be elected to such an organization,” said Liu, who is director of MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. “Working for the environment and for global sustainability, I am most grateful to the long-term support from numerous administrators and other colleagues at MSU, generous funding agencies, outstanding students and staff in our center and department, and excellent collaborators around the world. I look forward to continuing to expand this work.”

Liu’s research bridges social and natural sciences. He adopts a holistic approach to addressing complex human-environmental challenges and conducts research in the United States, China, Brazil, and many other countries. His work addresses unexpected relationships such as environmental impacts of divorce and telecoupling (distant socioeconomic-environmental interactions across the world), and has been a part of the conservation success story of China’s iconic giant panda being downgraded from endangered to threatened.

He and his students and colleagues have authored more than 250 publications in journals and books, including about two dozen in Science, Nature and PNAS.

“Membership in the Academy is not only an honor but also an opportunity and a responsibility,” said Jonathan Fanton, president of the American Academy. “Members can be inspired and engaged by connecting with one another and through Academy projects dedicated to the common good. The intellect, creativity, and commitment of the 2018 Class will enrich the work of the Academy and the world in which we live.”

This honor follows Liu’s election to the American Philosophical Society and as a Fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science, and as a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship Award.

Last week, he was honored with the Distinguished Landscape Ecologist Award by the United States Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE) at its annual meeting in Chicago. That is the highest honor bestowed by US-IALE in recognition of individuals whose thinking and writing have helped to shape the field of landscape ecology.

“Dr. Liu’s work represents the finest tradition of MSU’s research endeavors, using creativity and a spirit of intellectual adventure that expands the boundaries of knowledge and addresses the world’s most critical challenges,” said Stephen Hsu, MSU vice president for research and graduate studies. “We are proud of this recognition of his commitment and leadership, and to see him join such an accomplished community.”

Liu joins five other MSU members of this academy. He will be inducted at a ceremony in October in Cambridge, Mass.

Since its founding in 1780, the academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Margaret Mead and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 20th. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

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