UC Irvine’s Wilson Ho, renowned for his development of a two- story-high scanning tunneling microscope to investigate single molecules, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. The honor is considered one of the highest in scientific research. He is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates being recognized by the prestigious academy this year for distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
“When I met Professor Ho at Caltech, he was already bound for scientific excellence,” said Kenneth Janda, dean of physical sciences. “His forte is the design and construction of elaborate instruments to see deeply into the inner workings of atoms and molecules. His work is recognized around the world as the best in its field, and today he brings great distinction to our school and to UC Irvine.”
Ho, the Donald Bren Professor of Physics & Astronomy and the Donald Bren Professor of Chemistry, earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology and a doctorate in physics at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent a year on the AT&T Bell Laboratories technical staff and was on the faculty of Cornell University before joining UC Irvine in 2000.
An inventor of innovative, transformative technology, the soft-spoken Ho attributes his accomplishments to his team.
“It’s a privilege to work with students and postdocs who have done much of the work to merit this recognition and an honor to be recognized by colleagues,” he said. “We hope to see more opportunities that will allow us to expand our research. We like to build instruments that allow us to carry out new experiments in the cross-disciplinary areas of chemistry and physics.”
Ho wins high praise from fellow faculty members for the functionality and elegance of his designs.
“He’s in a class all his own in terms of the beauty of his work,” said chemist Reginald Penner.
NAS membership now totals 2,179, including 22 from UC Irvine – 10 of them physical sciences professors.
National Aademy of Sciences - Online