THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Dover, New Hampshire) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release February 18, 1999
PRESIDENT CLINTON NAMES ENRICO FERMI AWARD WINNERS
President Clinton today named Maurice Goldhaber and Michael E. Phelps as the winners of the Enrico Fermi Award, given for a lifetime of achievement in the field of nuclear energy.
Dr. Maurice Goldhaber, 87, is a physicist and distinguished scientist emeritus at the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY. He is also an adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he has taught from 1961 to the present. Early in his career, Dr. Goldhaber was the first to measure accurately the mass of the neutron. His later experiments provided key support for the Standard Model, the theory of fundamental particles and forces. While director of the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, he presided over an extraordinary period of scientific productivity. Since retirement as director of the laboratory, Dr. Goldhaber has continued the study of neutrinos, most recently as part of the international collaboration of scientists who, in 1998 at the Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan, found evidence that neutrinos have mass. Dr. Goldhaber earned his Ph.D. in physics at Cambridge University
Dr. Michael Phelps, 59, is chairman of the Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine. His current positions there include: Professor of Biomathematics, 1980-present; Associate Director, Laboratory of Structural Biology & Molecular Medicine and Chief, Division of Nuclear Medicine, 1984-present; and Director, Crump Institute for Biological Imaging, 1989-present. Dr. Phelps' early work applied nuclear physics, chemistry and mathematics to biomedical imaging. Dr. Phelps contributed to the invention and use of the medical imaging technique known as Positron Emission Tomography (PET). He specifically contributed to PET's use in research and patient care in neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and cancer. He also established and directed the first PET clinic for patient care. Dr. Phelps earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Washington University, St. Louis in 1970.
The Fermi Award, the government's oldest science and technology award, dates to 1956. It honors the memory of Enrico Fermi, leader of the group of scientists who, on December 2, 1942, achieved the first self-sustained, controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago. Among the first recipients were physicists John von Neumann, Ernest O. Lawrence, Hans Bethe, Edward Teller and Robert Oppenheimer. The award was given most recently in 1997 to Richard Garwin, Mortimer Elkind and H. Rodney Withers. Dr. Goldhaber will receive the Fermi Award for research in nuclear and particle physics. Dr. Phelps will receive the award for his contributions to the invention and use of PET. The presidential award carries a $100,000 honorarium and a gold medal. The Department of Energy administers the Fermi Award for the White House, and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson will present the awards on April 16 in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
"It is a privilege to honor these scientists and their pioneering research," President Clinton said. "Dr. Goldhaber's work has contributed significantly to our understanding of the way the world works. Dr. Phelps made possible an innovative technology that has improved medical research and health care."
Detailed information on the winners and their contributions is available from the Department of Energy press office at 202/586-5806.