CalTech’s Frances Arnold Is Named to Serve in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Frances Arnold, the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology, has been named to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a scientific academy under the auspices of the Pope and based in Vatican City. The academy was established in 1936 by Pope Pius XI with the goal of promoting “the progress of the mathematical, physical, and natural sciences.” It is the latest incarnation of papal scientific academies that date back to 1603. As a member of the academy, Arnold will be able to attend academy meetings and participate in study groups focused on scientific issues.

In 2018, Professor Arnold won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. According to the award citation, she was honored for “the directed evolution of enzymes,” which is a bioengineering method for creating new and better enzymes in the laboratory using the principles of evolution.

Dr. Arnold has taught at CalTech since 1986. In 2011, she became the first woman to win the Charles Stark Draper Prize from the National Academy of Engineering. Professor Arnold received the Millennium Technology Prize in 2016 and was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2013. Additionally, she was the first woman to be elected to all three branches of the National Academies: the National Academy of Engineering (2000), the National Academy of Medicine (2004), and the National Academy of Sciences (2008). In 2018, she was elected to the American Philosophical Society.

Professor Arnold holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University in New Jersey and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

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