Two Oxford academics, Professor Desmond King and Dr Keith Stewart Thomson, have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, class of 2017.

The American Academy is one of the US’ oldest learned societies and independent policy research centres. Membership is nominated and elected by peers within the Academy.

The Academy currently has a membership of 4900 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members, including over 250 Nobel laureates and over 60 Pulitzer Prize winners. Past members have included John Adams, Jawaharlal Nehru, Pablo Picasso, and astronomer Maria Mitchell.

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“It is definitely an honour and a pleasant surprise,” Professor Desmond King told Cherwell.

“My work focuses on the US executive politics and racial inequality in America, which might have been of interest to American Academy members in the political science department,” Professor King added.

He is currently the Andrew Mellon Professor of American Government at Nuffield College, as well as an emeritus fellow at St John’s College.

Dr Keith Stewart Thomson is an emeritus professor of natural history at Oxford. He also served as the director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, from 1998 to 2003.

Dr Thomson specialises in the study of the history of science and evolution.

The American Academy conducts research in four areas: humanities, arts, and education; science, engineering, and technology; global security and international affairs; and American institutions and the public good. It publishes the journal Dædalus and the magazine, the Bulletin.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 7, 2017, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.