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University of Houston professor Richard C. Willson has been named a 2010 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.
Willson is a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and biochemical and biophysical sciences. He was recognized by the AAAS for his "distinguished contributions to biomolecular recognition sciences and its applications and for development of technologies for rapid characterization of catalysts and nucleic acids."
He is among 503 AAAS members named 2010 Fellows, an honor awarded to members by their peers based on their work in advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. The new Fellows will be formally recognized at a Feb. 19 ceremony in Washington D.C.
"Being selected an AAAS fellow is a tribute to Professor Willson and his remarkable work," said Joseph W. Tedesco, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Dean and Professor of the UH Cullen College of Engineering. "It also is an important milestone for the University of Houston, which continues to make great progress in building a Tier One institution through the kind of research performed by Professor Willson."
The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering group of their respective sections, by three Fellows or by the Association's chief executive officer. Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and forwards a final list to the AAAS Council. The AAAS Council, the association's policymaking body, votes on the final list.
"This is a great honor, for which a very large portion of the credit goes to my students, collaborators, and colleagues," said Willson, a John and Rebecca Moores Professor at Cullen.
Willson has been an AAAS member since high school, when he took a week off from his studies in 1976 to attend the group's annual meeting in his hometown of Denver.
"AAAS is the leading general scientific society in the U.S., and attending their meeting so long ago made a real difference in my deciding to pursue a career in science and technology," he said.
Willson received his bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.