May 12, 2003
Linguistics professor elected to American Academy
of Arts & Sciences
By Scott Rappaport
UCSC linguistics professor Geoffrey K. Pullum has joined Supreme Court
Justice Antonin Scalia, journalist Walter Cronkite, philanthropist William
Gates Sr., Nobel Prize-winning physicist Donald Glaser, recording industry
pioneer Ray Dolby, and Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi
Annan, as a newly elected member of the American Academy of Arts &
Geoffrey K. Pullum is coauthor of The Cambridge Grammar
of the English Language. Photo:
Barbara C. Scholz
The 2003 class of 187 Fellows and 29 Foreign Honorary
four college presidents, three Nobel Prize recipients, and
"It gives me great pleasure to welcome these outstanding and influential
individuals to the nations oldest and most illustrious learned
society," noted Academy President Patricia Meyer Spacks. "Newly
elected Fellows are selected through a highly competitive process that
recognizes those who have made preeminent contributions to their disciplines."
As in the MacArthur "Genius" awards, the honorees have no
idea they are even being considered for the Academy.
"I was very surprised," said Pullum. "This comes out
of the blueyou dont apply. On Monday morning, a Federal
Express envelope arrived from the Academy. Its quite a remarkable
Pullum is coauthor of The Cambridge Grammar of the
(2002), the first definitive grammar reference book of
English in more than 20 years. He has published a dozen
books and nearly
200 articles on the scientific study of language.
Pullum received his Ph.D. in general linguistics from the University
of London and has been a professor at UC Santa Cruz since
serving as the universitys dean of graduate studies
from 1987 to 1993. One of his best-known books is The Great Eskimo
Vocabulary Hoax, a highly entertaining collection of
about the field of linguistics.
The Academy of Arts & Sciences has elected the most influential
leaders from each generation since its founding in 1780. The list includes
George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel
Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th century, and Albert Einstein
and Woodrow Wilson in the 20th century. Past elected Foreign Honorary
Members have included Winston Churchill, Niels Bohr, Alfred Lord Tennyson,
Jawaharlal Nehru, and Albert Camus. The current membership includes
more than 150 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners.
New Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members are nominated and elected
by current members of the Academy in five different
and physics; biological sciences; social sciences; arts and
and public affairs and business. The members conduct
studies that draw on a wide of range of academic and
and participate in projects that focus on both advancing intellectual
thought and constructive action.
Other newly elected 2003 Fellows include Catherine
General of the United Nations and chief executive of the World Food
Program; novelists Richard Ford and Peter Carey; Jeri Laber, senior
adviser to Human Rights Watch; Pulitzer Prize-winning
Thatcher Ulrich; William J. McDonough, president and chief executive
officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and botanist Stephen
P. Hubbell, founder and chairman of the National Council for Science
and the Environment.
Pullum will travel to Cambridge, Mass., in October for the
ceremony at the Academys headquarters.
Return to Front Page