Lovejoy joins ranks of Edison, Einstein

Tieran Lewis

Owen Lovejoy, professor of anthropology, has been elected to join the National Academy of Sciences for his work on human origins. Here, Lovejoy looks over an x-ray from one of many forensic cases he has helped solve. DAVID RANUCCI | SUMMER KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

A Kent State professor has taken his place among the nation’s top scientists.

Owen C. Lovejoy, professor of anthropology, was elected to become a member of the National Academy of Sciences on May 1. Members of the academy have included scientists such as Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.

“It’s an honor,” Lovejoy said. “There’s really nothing else I can do. They don’t give a Nobel for anthropology.”

Lovejoy said he was shocked and excited to receive news of his election to the National Academy of Sciences, which advises the national government on scientific issues pertaining to public policy.

Maureen O’Leary, director of public information for the academy, said Lovejoy was chosen because of the research he’d contributed to his field during his career as an anthropologist.

“This year’s newly elected members will be inducted into the academy at next year’s annual meeting,” O’Leary said. “They will each sign the book of registry, which has been used since the founding of the academy in 1863.”

Lovejoy is the second academy member elected from a university in the Mid-American Conference and said he credits his success to his students and colleagues at Kent State.

“My election is more that I’m a head of a group of people,” He said. “I’ve never done anything on my own.

He is working with researchers from Ethiopia, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Tokyo on excavating a skeleton that is more than one million years older than what was previously the oldest known human remains.

A documentary on the project will air on the Discovery Channel in 2008.

Contact general assignment reporter Tieran Lewis at [email protected].