Two Black Scholars Elected Members of the National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences, a prestigious organization founded on March 3, 1863, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, features this nation’s finest scientists. During the Civil War, Sen. Henry Wilson helped create the bill that would bring the NAS to reality.

The organization strives to elect the most distinguished and most qualified scientists. This year, it added two Black scientists who fit that criteria. Scott V. Edwards and Jennifer A. Richeson are currently the only Black scientists who are part of the organization.


Edwards is currently the Alexander Agassiz professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University. In addition to his work as a professor, he is the curator of birds for the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. “A native of Hawaii, Edwards is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard. He earned a Ph.D. in zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Edwards has been on the faculty at Harvard University since 2003,” according the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.


Richeson is the endowed chair of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in psychology at Northwestern University. At the university, she also teaches African-American studies. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education goes on to say that Richeson has been on the faculty at Northwestern since 2005. Previously, “she taught at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Dr. Richeson is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.”

The two were officially inducted as members of the NAS on May 11.

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