James H. Lambert, professor in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science “for distinguished contributions to the field of risk analysis, particularly using systems engineering tools to address critical infrastructure risk and resilience,” which refers to the ability of systems to continue functioning despite crises and disruptions.
He is one of four UVA faculty members elected in this year’s AAAS class. Joining Lambert as UVA honorees are professor of psychology Angeline Lillard, Commonwealth Professor of Mathematics and History Karen Parshall and Patricia Wiberg, a professor the Department of Environmental Sciences.
Lambert’s scholarship and involvement in risk and resilience analysis in international forums throughout his nearly 25 years at UVA have made him a world leader in his field. He invented the application of scenario‐based preferences (evaluating the disruption of a system’s priorities by emergent and future conditions) in risk and resilience analysis for science‐based policymaking.
Lambert is director of the Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems. He directs the UVA site of the National Science Foundation Center for Hardware and Embedded Systems Security and Trust, a capacity in which he is seeking funding to apply his expertise in supply chain logistics and security to support worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. He is active in the Technical Advisory Council of the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics Systems.
In addition to logistics systems, Lambert’s work has been applied across the globe to disaster resilience, energy infrastructure, coastal protection, economic development, transportation, worldwide container freight systems, biofuels, wireless broadband for public safety and Olympics planning.
Lambert has led more than 60 sponsored projects totaling more than $25 million in research funding, and is principal investigator in eight active UVA projects. His research has been cited more than 5,000 times across more than 200 publications.
He has served as editor or associate editor for several scientific journals and is founding editor‐in‐chief of the Springer journal Environment Systems and Decisions.
A fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, American Society of Civil Engineers and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Lambert has been a lead organizer and contributor to conferences in the United States and abroad. In 2019, he chaired the Fifth World Congress on Risk, convening more than 300 scientists in Cape Town, South Africa.
Lambert is active in AAAS annual meetings and in promoting the association to colleagues and students. Since learning of his election as fellow, he feels a greater responsibility.
“A key role of fellows is to advance AAAS values and to involve others in the organization, to illuminate where science is in the public interest, and to grow the influence of science and engineering in public policy,” he said.
“AAAS brings together scientists and citizens across many disciplines,” he said, recalling a Family Science Days event at a meeting in which schoolchildren engaged with physicists who a few months earlier were the first to measure gravitational waves. “AAAS is a resource for all who are interested in science and science policy.”
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, and related publication. AAAS includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more.