Polly Arnold elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 25, 2024

Polly Arnold

Photo: Professor Polly Arnold; courtesy of The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)

Three Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a prestigious organization honoring excellence in science, the humanities and arts, and policy and communication.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is both an honorary society that recognizes and celebrates the excellence of its members and an independent research center convening leaders from across disciplines, professions, and perspectives to address significant challenges.

Berkeley Lab scientists Polly Arnold, Uroš Seljak, and Irfan Siddiqi are among 250 new academy members announced.

Polly Arnold is the director of Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division and a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.

Arnold is known for her innovative work in exploratory synthetic chemistry. Her research focuses on advancing our understanding of the bonding and reactivity of heavy elements – the elements of the f-block of the periodic table. Her work has shown how the 4f-block elements, also known as the rare earth elements, offer great potential for the catalytic conversion of simple inert molecules needed for a future, renewable-based chemical industry. Her research has also advanced new techniques for controlling the chemistry of actinides – the radioactive metals of the 5f-series – which underpin the long-term, safe management of nuclear waste.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and was awarded the 2012 Rosalind Franklin Award and Order of the British Empire in 2017 for her outstanding contributions to chemistry and women in STEM.

Read the full Berkeley Lab press release