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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 8, 1998

President Clinton announced today the 1998 recipients of the nation's highest science and technology honors, the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology.

"These extraordinary scientists and engineers have applied their creativity, resolve, and restless spirit of innovation to ensure continued U.S. leadership across the frontiers of scientific knowledge," President Clinton said. "By sustaining our investments in science and technology, we ensure that America remains at the forefront of scientific capability, thereby enhancing our ability to build a better America for the twenty-first century."

The National Medal of Science, established by Congress in 1959 and administered by the National Science Foundation, honors individuals for contributions to the present state of knowledge in a variety of science frontiers. Including this year's recipients, the Medal of Science has been awarded to 362 distinguished scientists and engineers.

The National Medal of Technology, established by Congress in 1980 and administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, recognizes technological innovation and advancement of the nation's global competitiveness, as well as ground-breaking contributions that commercialize a technology, create jobs, improve productivity, or stimulate the nation's growth and development in other ways. To date, 106 individuals and teams and 10 companies have been honored with this award.

The list of this year's nine winners of the Medal of Science and the five winners of the Medal of Technology are attached.


1998 National Medal of Science Recipients

The National Medal of Science is the nation's highest scientific honor. Established by Congress in 1959, it was intended to be bestowed annually by the President of the United States on a select group of individuals deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences. Congress expanded this definition in 1980 to recognize outstanding work in the social and behavioral sciences. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy awarded the first Medal of Science to the late Theodore Von Karmen, the president emeritus of aeronautical engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Including the nine 1998 winners, 362 individuals have been awarded the Medal of Science.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) administers the Medal of Science program for the President. A distinguished independent, 12-member, presidential-appointed committee reviews the nominations and sends its list of recommendations to the President for final selection. The committee is comprised of outstanding scientists and engineers from a variety of disciplines in the natural and social sciences. Serving as ex officio members are the president of the National Academy of Sciences and the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Policy.

Bruce N. Ames, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California in Berkeley, California for changing the direction of basic and applied research on mutation, cancer and aging. His simple, inexpensive test for environmental and natural mutagens identified causes and effects of oxidative DNA damage, and translated these findings into intelligible public policy recommendations on diet and cancer risk for the American people.

Don L. Anderson, Professor of Geophysics at the California Institute of Technology Seismological Laboratory in Pasadena, California, for advancing the understanding of the composition, structure and dynamics of the Earth and Earth-like planets, and for his national and international influence on the advancement of earth sciences over the past three decades.

John N. Bahcall, Professor of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, for his pioneering efforts in neutrino astrophysics and his contributions to the development and planning of the Hubble Space Telescope.

John W. Cahn, Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, for his profound influence on the course of materials and mathematics research, and his enormous contributions to three generations of materials scientists, solid-state physicists and mathematicians.

Cathleen S. Morawetz, Professor Emerita at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University in New York, New York, for pioneering advances in partial differential equations and wave propagation resulting in application to aerodynamics, acoustics, and optics.

Janet D. Rowley, Professor at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, for revolutionizing cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment through her discovery of chromosomal translocations in cancer, and for her pioneering work on the relationship of prior treatment to recurring chromosome abnormalities.

Eli Ruckenstein, Professor of Chemical Engineering, State University of New York in Buffalo, New York, for his world class pioneering theories and experimental achievements in colloidal and surface phenomena, catalysts, and advanced materials.

George M. Whitesides, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for his innovative and far-ranging research in chemistry, biology, biochemistry and material science that has brought breakthroughs to transition metal chemistry, heterogeneous reactions, organic surface chemistry, and enzyme-mediated synthesis.

William Julius Wilson, Professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for his pioneering methods of interdisciplinary social science research that have advanced understanding of the interaction between the macroeconomic, social structural, cultural and behavioral forces that cause and reproduce inner city poverty.

For additional information about the 1998 National Medal of Science awardees, contact Bill Noxon in Legislative and Public Affairs (703/306-1070) at the National Science Foundation.


1998 National Medal of Technology Recipients

The National Medal of Technology is awarded for technological breakthroughs resulting in the creation of new or significantly improved products, processes or services. The President of the United States first presented this prestigious award in 1985.

An independent committee of experts from the scientific and technological community evaluates the merits of all candidates nominated through an open, national competitive solicitation process. Committee recommendations are forwarded to the Secretary of Commerce who then makes recommendations to the President for his final decision.

Denton A. Cooley, MD, Founder, President and Surgeon-in-Chief, Texas Heart Institute in Houston, Texas, for his inspirational skill, leadership, and technical accomplishments during six decades of practicing cardiovascular surgery, including having performed the first successful human heart transplant in the United States, and the world's first implantation of an artificial heart in man as a bridge to heart transplantation, and for founding the Texas Heart Institute, which has served more heart patients than any other institution in the world.

Team Award jointly to Kenneth L. Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie, (Lucent Technologies' Bell Laboratories) in Murray Hill, New Jersey for the invention of the Unix operating system and the C programming language which together have led to enormous advances in computer hardware, software and networking systems, and stimulated the growth of the entire computer industry, thereby enhancing American leadership in the Information Age. Kenneth Thompson is a Bell Laboratories Fellow in the Computing Sciences Research Center, and Dennis Ritchie is a Bell Laboratories Fellow and Head of the Systems Software Research Department.

Team Award jointly to Robert T. Fraley, Robert B. Horsch, Ernest G. Jaworski and Stephen G. Rogers (Monsanto) in St. Louis, Missouri for their pioneering achievements in plant biology and agricultural biotechnology, and for global leadership in the development and commercialization of genetically modified crops to enhance agricultural productivity and sustainability. Robert Fraley is Co-President of the Agricultural Sector; Robert Horsch is Co-President of the Sustainable Development Sector and General Manager of the Agracetus Research Campus; Ernest Jaworski is the retired Director of the Biological Sciences Program; and Stephen Rogers is Director of Biotechnology Projects at Monsanto's European Center for Crop Research in Brussels, Belgium.

Biogen, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for its leadership in applying breakthroughs in biology to the development of life-saving and life-enhancing pharmaceutical products designed to treat large, previously underserved patient populations throughout the world; and for the development of hepatitis B vaccines, the first vaccines using recombinant DNA technology.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company of New York, New York, for extending and enhancing human life through innovative pharmaceutical research and development, and for redefining the science of clinical study through groundbreaking and extremely complex clinical trials that are now recognized as industry models.

For additional information about the 1998 recipients of the National Medal of Technology, contact Cheryl Mendonsa in Public Affairs (202) 482-8321) at the Department of Commerce.