Skip to main content

Two UCSD Professors In Biology And Physics Elected To National Academy Of Sciences

April 20, 2004
By: Kim McDonald

The National Academy of Sciences today elected a biology professor and a physics professor at the University of California, San Diego to membership in the prestigious academy, one of the highest honors bestowed on U.S. scientists and engineers.

Headshot photo of Brian Maple
Brian Maple, Photo Credit: UCSD

M. Brian Maple, Bernd T. Matthias professor of physics and director of UCSD’s Institute for Pure and Applied Physical Sciences, and Charles S. Zuker, a professor of biology and of neurosciences at UCSD, were among the 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 13 countries elected to the academy this morning “in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Their election brings the number of current faculty members at UCSD who are members of the National Academy of Sciences to 71, ranking the university seventh in the nation in the number of academy members. The National Academy of Sciences, established by Congress in 1863, serves as an official adviser to the federal government on matters of science and technology.

Mark Thiemens, Dean of UCSD’s Division of Physical Sciences, and Eduardo Macagno, Dean of UCSD’s Division of Biological Sciences, noted that “The election of Professor Maple and Professor Zuker to the academy today is a testament to their scientific achievements and underscores the intellectual vitality of UCSD’s two science divisions.”

“It’s often said that Roger Revelle built this university from the top down by recruiting members of the National Academy of Sciences to UCSD. But much of our scientific talent, as demonstrated by the election today, resides in the faculty who have developed and established themselves at UCSD,” added the two deans.

Photo of Charles Zuker in a lab
Charles Zuker, Credit: Barbara Ries for HHMI

Maple received his doctorate in physics from UCSD in 1969, working under the renowned UCSD physicist Bernd Matthias, and was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year at UCSD in 1987. An expert on high-temperature superconductors—materials that lose all resistance to electricity at commercially attainable, cold temperatures—he presided over the celebrated high-temperature superconductivity session, dubbed the “Woodstock of Physics,” during the American Physical Society’s March meeting in 1987. His research interests also include magnetism, low-temperature physics, high-pressure physics and surface science. Maple has been on the faculty at UCSD since 1973.

Zuker, a 46-year-old neurobiologist, was born in Chile and moved to the U.S. to obtain his doctorate in molecular biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zuker is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and has been on the faculty at UCSD since 1987. Recently elected to the Academy of Arts and Sciences, Zuker and his colleagues in his laboratory employ a combined molecular, genetic, and physiological approach to investigate the biology of sensory transduction mechanisms in photoreceptors, mechanoreceptors and taste receptors.