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Two UCLA professors elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Philippe Bourgois and Rosa Matzkin join the academy, which was founded in 1780

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AAAS 2018
UCLA

UCLA professors Philippe Bourgois and Rosa Matzkin.

UCLA professor in residence of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences Philippe Bourgois and UCLA professor of economics Rosa Matzkin are among 213 individuals from a wide range of disciplines and professions to be elected as members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018.

Founded in 1780, the academy honors exceptional scholars, leaders, artists and innovators and engages them in sharing knowledge and addressing challenges facing the world.

Bourgois is also director of the Center for Social Medicine and Humanities within the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and a professor in the departments of anthropology and sociology in the UCLA College. As director of the Center for Social Medicine, Bourgois is leading a new initiative documenting the intersection between mental illness, poverty, incarceration, homelessness and racism in Los Angeles.

He is widely known for his work as a medical anthropologist, in which he has closely documented the lives of homeless drug addicts in San Francisco, crack addicts in New York and drug dealers in Philadelphia.

His book, “Righteous Dopefiend,” published in 2009 by University of California Press, chronicles a social network of two dozen heroin injectors and crack users on the streets of San Francisco during the course of a decade. Bourgois’ upcoming book, “Cornered,” which will be published by Princeton University Press, is based on almost a dozen years of collaborative, participant-observation fieldwork in a segregated Puerto Rican neighborhood in Philadelphia dominated by open-air narcotics markets.

Matzkin is the Charles E. Davidson Professor of Economics. Her research has been aimed at creating a tight connection between econometrics and economic theory. Econometrics is a field that harnesses mathematics and statistical methods to quantify economic phenomena into empirical data, turning theoretical models into useful tools for economic policymaking.

Her methods can be used to test whether data is consistent with any particular model, to estimate unobservable functions and distributions, and to predict behavior and economic outcomes when economic structures change. 

Her work has been published in Econometrica, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Economic Theory and Journal of Econometrics, among others.

Matzkin, who is a fellow of the Econometric Society, was a member of the executive committees of the American Economic Association and of the Econometric Society. Matzkin was also editor of Quantitative Economics, co-editor of the research monograph series of the Econometric Society and associate editor of Econometrica and Journal of Econometrics. She is currently committee member for the Annual Review of Economics

Before joining UCLA, Matzkin held faculty positions at Northwestern and Yale.

The new members of the academy were elected in 25 categories and are affiliated with 125 institutions. The 2018 class also includes author Ta-Nehisi Coates, actor Tom Hanks, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Barack Obama, and Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor.

“This class of 2018 is a testament to the academy’s ability to both uphold our 238-year commitment to honor exceptional individuals and to recognize new expertise,” said Nancy Andrews, the chair of the board of the academy. “John Adams, James Bowdoin and other founders did not imagine climatology, econometrics, gene regulation, nanostructures or Netflix. They did, however, have a vision that the academy would be dedicated to new knowledge — and these new members help us achieve that goal.”

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony in October 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts at which the newly elected members will sign the Book of Members, and their signatures will be added to the academy members who came before them, including Benjamin Franklin (1781) and Alexander Hamilton (elected 1791) in the 18th century; Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848), and Charles Darwin (1874) in the 19th; and Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959) and Martin Luther King Jr. (1966) in the 20th.

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