jamesbrownThe National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced the election of 72 new members at its recent 142nd annual meeting and the list includes University of New Mexico Distinguished Professor of Biology James H. Brown. Election to the academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer.

Brown joins current UNM faculty members Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Jane Buikstra, who has been a member since 1987, and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Professor Jesse Summers, a member since 2001, in the NAS.

“Everyone at UNM is thrilled that Distinguished Professor James Brown is the latest member of our faculty to become a member of the National Academy of Sciences,” said Acting Provost Reed Dasenbrock. “Jim is a great scientist, a passionate teacher and a good university citizen. He does everything well and we are proud to have him as a member of the UNM faculty.”

Brown’s research has always been driven by curiosity about the diversity of life. He has conducted two major research programs over the course of his career including theoretical research in biological scaling and macroecology and experimental research in desert ecology. His research interests include community ecology and biogeography, with special projects on granivory in desert ecosystems; biogeography of insular habitats; and structure of dynamics of geographic-scale assemblages of many species.

“I love the challenge of trying to convey my passionate interest in biological diversity and to helping young people who want to discover secrets of nature by doing original scientific research,” said Brown, who has taught at UNM since 1987. “I enjoy teaching undergraduates in large classes on ecology, evolution, and biogeography. I also enjoy working with students individually or in small groups to develop their critical thinking and research potential. I have mentored many undergraduate honors students, most of whom have gone on to graduate school.

Brown has received many awards throughout his 38-year teaching career including: the Marsh Award for Career Achievement from the British Ecological Society (2002); Robert H. MacArthur Award for Research (2002) and the Eugene P. Odum Award for Education (2001), both from the Ecological Society of America; Elected Fellow (1995) by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (1991-92); UNM Regents’ Professor (1990-2001); Distinguished Professor (2001-present) and Annual Research Lecturer (1999) C. Hart Merriam Award for Outstanding Service to Mammalogy (1989); and Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (1988).

He has written or co-authored seven books, more than 180 scientific papers in refereed journals, numerous chapters in edited volumes, invited papers, book reviews and other writings.

Brown earned his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Michigan in 1967 and began his teaching career at the University of California, Los Angeles, also in 1967.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

Those elected this year bring the total number of active members to 1,976. Also elected were 18 foreign associates from 14 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

For more information on James H. Brown, visit: James H. Brown


This article was originally published in "UNM Today: Campus News and Information" (http://www.unm.edu/~market/cgi-bin/) on May 6, 2005 by Steve Carr (505/277-1821).