Two University of Maryland faculty members—an expert on the intersection of policy and science and a geologist known for his discoveries on the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere—have been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that a researcher can receive.

Rosina M. Bierbaum, Roy F. Westin Chair in Natural Economics in UMD's School of Public Policy who has a joint appointment at the University of Michigan, and James Farquhar, professor in the Department of Geology and the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), are among 100 new members named this week in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

The election of Bierbaum and Farquhar brings the total number of UMD faculty who are members of national academies to 59.  

Rosina M. BierbaumBierbaum has extensive experience in climate science, foreign relations and international development. She served on President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors of Science and Technology, chairs the Scientific and Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility, and was named an Adaptation Fellow at the World Bank. She is the lead author of the U.S. National Climate Assessment.

“As a first-generation college graduate hailing from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, I know I would not be here without ‘Star Trek,’  a lot of science fairs and many, many patient mentors along the way,” she said. “Their strongest advice to me was that doing research was not enough, but one should strive to be a ‘civic scientist’ and communicate the value of science to the public. My unusual career has come full circle from ‘discovery’ of knowledge, to ‘assessment’ and ‘use’ of knowledge for the Congress and the White House, and back to the university to mentor the next generation of environmental leaders.”

Bierbaum served for two decades in the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government and ran the first Environment Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Ecological Society of America and Sigma Xi. She received the American Geophysical Union’s Waldo Smith Award for extraordinary service to Geoscience and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Protection Award.

Bierbaum is a board member for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Federation of American Scientists, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, the Climate Reality Project, the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, the International Finance Corporation Business and Sustainability Group, and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.

James FarquharFarquhar is a scientific leader in sulfur isotope geochemistry, with publications that that address geochemical processes on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system, spanning a variety of eras from the ancient to the modern.

“I am highly honored to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences,” Farquhar said. “I am very grateful to the University of Maryland; the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences; ESSIC; and the Department of Geology for creating an environment where I could grow and thrive.”

He is best known for discovering the geochemical signal that traces the long-term history of atmospheric oxygen. More recently, Farquhar and his colleagues found that Earth’s early atmosphere spent about a million years filled with a methane-rich haze. In January, he and collaborators developed a more accurate system to study the recent history of large volcanic eruptions.

Farquhar is a fellow of the Geochemical Society and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. His awards and honors include the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair Award from the Franco-American Fulbright Commission, the Samuel Epstein Medal Science Innovation Award from the European Association of Geochemistry, and the F.W. Clarke Award from the Geochemical Society.

The academy is a private, nonprofit institution established in 1863 to provide science and technology advice to the federal government and other organizations. This year’s election included 40 women—an unprecedented number—and brings the total number of active academy members to 2,347.  

The full list of the newly elected members is available here.