Membership in the National Academy of Sciences is one of the highest honors bestowed on a scientist or engineer. Members are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Langer was elected a member in 1985 for his theoretical studies of nonequilibrium pattern formation, especially dendritic crystal growth, according to the National Academy of Sciences. His current research interests include deformation and fracture in solids, and the dynamics of earthquakes. An international leader in research on condensed matter and materials physics, Langer joined the UCSB faculty in 1982.
"I share the joy and pride of our entire campus community at the election of Professor James Langer as Vice President of the National Academy of Sciences," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "Jim's lifelong accomplishments in science make him an ideal choice for this influential and prestigious position. The leadership and vision Jim brings to the Academy will be wonderful assets for the scientific community as well as society at large."
The National Academy of Sciences, in Washington D.C., is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to advancing scientific knowledge. Established in 1863, the Academy serves as an official adviser to the federal government in matters of science and technology. The Academy has 1,900 members and 300 foreign associates, of whom more than 170 have won Nobel Prizes.