Editor's note: This story was updated on May 30, 2024, to indicate that UCLA faculty member Dr. Kelsey Martin was also elected to the academy this year.

Theoretical physicist Zvi Bern, internet pioneer Leonard Kleinrock and neuroscientist Dr. Kelsey Martin have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

The three professors are among 120 new members and 34 international members recently announced by the academy. Membership is one of the highest honors a scientist in the United States can receive.

Zvi Bern head-and-shoulders portrait

Zvi Bern
Professor of physics and astronomy

Bern, a faculty member since 1992 and director of UCLA’s Mani L. Bhaumik Institute for Theoretical Physics, is internationally known for his theoretical work in elementary particle physics. Using advanced theoretical methods to carry out complex computations, Bern is developing improved ways for physicists to understand how elementary particles scatter off each other, paticularly under extreme conditions, and has applied those ideas to physics at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, to maximally supersymmetric gauge and gravity theories, and to gravitational wave physics.

A fellow of the American Physical Society, Bern, along with David Kosower and Lance Dixon, was awarded the J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics in 2014. In 2023, the same trio won the Galileo Galilei Medal from the Galileo Galilei Institute for Theoretical Physics.

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Leonard Kleinrock head-and-shoulders portrait

Leonard Kleinrock
Distinguished professor emeritus of computer science

In 1962, as a graduate student at MIT, Kleinrock developed the mathematical theory of packet switching — a foundational technology of the internet that allows computers to exchange information across a network. A year later, he joined UCLA, where he continued to refine and test this process. On Oct. 29, 1969, Kleinrock’s team directed the successful transmission of the first message over the Arpanet from a computer in UCLA’s Boelter Hall to another computer at the Stanford Research Institute — a seminal moment that has been recognized as the birth of the internet.

Kleinrock continues to teach courses at UCLA Samueli and currently heads the UCLA Connection Lab, where he directs scholarly work and advises graduate students on computer networks and related topics like inclusive connectivity. In 2016, he created the Internet Research Initiative at UCLA, which supports undergraduate students in independent research.

Kleinrock is also a recipient of the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest award for scientific achievement, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors. He is an inaugural member of the Internet Hall of Fame.

With this year’s newly elected members, the academy now has 2,617 active members and 537 international members.

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln. One of three national academies, along with National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine, it provides independent, objective advice to the federal government on matters related to science and technology.

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Kelsey Martin head-and-shoulders portrait
UCLA Health

Dr. Kelsey Martin
Professor of biological chemistry and of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences

Martin, who was the dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA from 2015 to 2021, is a renowned neuroscientist who specializes in understanding memory formation and storage in the brain. Recently retired from UCLA (and on active recall in biological chemistry), Martin is the principal investigator of a molecular neurobiology research laboratory that integrates cell biological, molecular, and electrophysiological approaches to discovering how life experiences change brain connectivity to store memories. Her laboratory discovered molecules that signal from the synapse to the nucleus to regulate transcription and elucidated roles for mRNA localization and regulated translation during synapse formation and plasticity. 

A former chair of UCLA’s biological chemistry department and co-director the UCLA–Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program, Martin helped lead efforts at UCLA to encourage cross-disciplinary cooperation among researchers conducting neuroscience and other brain-related research.

She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and currently serves as executive vice president of the Simons Foundation autism and neuroscience programs.