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Sally M. Benson elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Benson joins a distinguished group of members from across non-profit, private, and public sectors who are recognized for their excellence and leadership in work that advances the common good.

Energy science and engineering Professor Sally M. Benson has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which honors exceptional scholars who discover and advance knowledge and who apply knowledge to the problems of society.

Benson, the Precourt Family Professor in the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, studies technologies and pathways to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She is currently on leave from Stanford, serving as deputy director for energy and chief strategist for the energy transition at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, where she is focused on developing a national strategy for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

A groundwater hydrologist and reservoir engineer, Benson is regarded as a leading authority on carbon capture and storage, as well as emerging energy technologies. Her research includes exploration of geologic storage of CO2 in deep underground formations and energy systems analysis for a low-carbon future. 

Benson is a senior fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment; and co-director of the Stanford Center for Carbon Storage. She served as director and co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy from 2013 to 2020 and director of the Global Climate & Energy Project from 2009 to 2019. Before joining Stanford in 2007, Benson was at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for 29 years, where she held a variety of positions including deputy director of operations and director of the Earth Sciences Division. 

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, founded in 1780, is both an honorary society that recognizes and celebrates the excellence of its members and an independent research center convening leaders from across disciplines, professions, and perspectives to address significant challenges. The first members elected to the Academy in 1781 included Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

“In its earliest days, the Academy sought members who would help address issues and opportunities confronting a young nation,” said Nancy C. Andrews (Boston Children’s Hospital), Chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors, in an announcement of this year’s new members. “We feel a similar urgency and have elected a class that brings diverse expertise to meet the pressing challenges and possibilities that America and the world face today.”

Benson is among thirteen Stanford researchers elected to the academy in 2023.

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