Thiel elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Headshot of Patricia Thiel

Pat Thiel

Patricia Thiel, who studies surface chemistry on an atomic scale, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Thiel is one of more than 200 newly elected members announced April 17 by the academy. She will join the academy’s chemistry section within its mathematical and physical sciences class. Formal induction ceremonies will be in October in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Thiel is a Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences with appointments in chemistry and materials science and engineering. She’s also a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.

"This is an amazing honor for me, but just as much for the many gifted and generous people who have worked with me over the years, especially my graduate students and postdocs, and the theoreticians with whom we’ve collaborated," Thiel said. "I am very, very happy that our achievements have been recognized in this way."

Iowa State and Ames Laboratory leaders praised Thiel’s research and leadership:

  • “Dr. Thiel’s election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an extraordinary endorsement of her research and scholarly excellence,” said President Wendy Wintersteen. “We are very proud of her achievement and we deeply appreciate her leadership in the pursuit of excellence at Iowa State University.”
  • “We are absolutely delighted to hear of Pat’s election to the Academy,” said Adam Schwartz, Ames Lab director. “Her research has been invaluable to advancing our understanding of quasicrystals and metamaterials. She has served the laboratory well in multiple leadership roles, and is a strong and constant collaborator with scientists around the globe. This is recognition well-deserved.”

The late Earl Heady, an agricultural economist at Iowa State, is Iowa State’s only other member of the academy, according to the academy’s directory. He was elected to the academy in 1977 and Heady Hall on campus was named after him in 1982.

The academy was founded in 1780 with the idea of honoring accomplished people and engaging them in the public good. Members include Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Margaret Mead and Martin Luther King Jr.

This year’s class is the academy’s 239th.

“With the election of these members,” said academy president David Oxtoby, “the academy upholds the ideals of research and scholarship, creativity and imagination, intellectual exchange and civil discourse, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge in all its forms.”