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Larry Epstein, a pioneer in the field of decision theory, and Paula Fredriksen, an expert on the history of ancient Christianity, have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS). They join some of the world’s most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts.

Epstein, a College of Arts & Sciences economics professor, studies the choices people make in different situations to find common behaviors that should underlie their choices regardless of the situation. Decision theory is part of the broader field of behavioral economics. Fredriksen, the Aurelio Professor of Scripture Emerita, has published widely on the social and intellectual history of ancient Christianity, and on pagan-Jewish-Christian relations in the Graeco-Roman world.

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, AAAS is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts, and education.

“Election to the academy honors individual accomplishment and calls upon members to serve the public good,” said academy president Leslie C. Berlowitz. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”

Members of the 2013 class include winners of the Nobel Prize, the National Medal of Science, the Lasker Award, the Pulitzer and the Shaw Prizes, the Fields Medal, MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, the Kennedy Center Honors, and Grammy, Emmy, Academy, and Tony Awards.