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MSRI Deputy Director Hélène Barcelo named 2021 AAAS Fellow

January 26, 2022

AAAS Honors MSRI Deputy Director Hélène Barcelo as Lifetime AAAS Fellow

Berkeley, CA and Washington, D.C. — The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, has elected Hélène Barcelo, Deputy Director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), to the newest class of AAAS Fellows, among the most distinct honors within the scientific community.

A native of Québec, Canada, Hélène Barcelo received her PhD in mathematics in 1988 at the University of California, San Diego. After a three-year postdoctoral position at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, she moved to Arizona State University - Tempe campus (ASU), where she is now a Professor Emerita of Mathematics. Professor Barcelo's research interests lie in algebraic combinatorics; more specifically, combinatorial representation theory and homotopy theories in relation to subspace arrangements. She has held the position of Deputy Director of MSRI, overseeing all scientific activities at the Institute, since July 2008.

MSRI Director David Eisenbud acknowledged Professor Barcelo's many achievements: "Over the 10 years that Hélène has worked as Deputy Director of MSRI, she has worked to serve the mathematical community with truly extraordinary energy, drive and inventiveness, paying particular attention to the situation of women and other currently under-represented groups in mathematics. Her work is very widely recognized and appreciated in the community, and the AAAS fellowship is a well-deserved and most appropriate honor."

Among the other mathematicians receiving the same honor for 2021 are former MSRI director Robert Bryant (Duke University), former MSRI Trustee Judy Leavitt Walker (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), former MSRI research professor and postdoctoral fellow Dan Abramovich (Brown University), and former MSRI Eisenbud Professor, program organizer, and postdoctoral fellow Jill C. Pipher (Brown University).

The 2021 class of AAAS Fellows includes 564 scientists, engineers, and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines who are being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.

“AAAS is proud to bestow the honor of AAAS Fellow to some of today’s brightest minds who are integral to forging our path into the future,” said Dr. Sudip Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “We celebrate these distinguished individuals for their invaluable contributions to the scientific enterprise.”

This tradition stretches back to 1874. AAAS Fellows are a distinguished cadre of scientists, engineers, and innovators who have been recognized for their achievements across disciplines ranging from research, teaching, and technology, to administration in academia, industry, and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.

The new Fellows will receive an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin to commemorate their election (representing science and engineering, respectively) and will be celebrated later this year during an in-person gathering when it is feasible from a public health and safety perspective. The 2021 class of AAAS Fellows will also be featured in the AAAS News & Notes section of Science in January 2022.


About MSRI: The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) is a landmark of US and world collaborative mathematical research. Over 1,700 mathematical scientists spend time at MSRI’s Berkeley, California headquarters each year. It is a place where breakthroughs are made, research areas are created, and brilliant careers are launched. MSRI’s education and outreach programs and film production for public television reach millions worldwide. MSRI has been supported since its origins by the National Science Foundation, now joined by other government agencies, private foundations, corporations, individual donors, and over 100 academic institutions. Learn more at msri.org.

About AAAS: The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For additional information about AAAS, visit aaas.org.