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  • Science Medalists Announced
Sep 2008
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2008 -- President George W. Bush has announced the recipients of the 2007 National Medal of Science and the 2007 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, considered the most prestigious honors in the fields of science and technology.

The National Medal of Science honors individual for pioneering scientific research that enhances our understanding of the world and leads to innovations and technologies that give the United States its global economic edge. The National Medal of Technology, on the other hand, is given to individuals, teams, and/or companies and divisions for their contributions to the Nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being through the development and commercialization of technology products, processes and concepts; technological innovation; and development of the Nation’s technological manpower.

Among the eight winners of the National Medal of Science were several recipients whose contributions have impacted the photonics industry. Mostafa A. El-Sayed, a director of the Laser Dynamics Laboratory at Georgia Tech, conducted research that focused on nanomaterials, including gold nanoparticles and nanocrystal lattices. He is also known for his work in the area of applying laser spectroscopic techniques to the study of properties and behavior on the nanoscale. El-Sayed has served as an SPIE symposium chair and program committee chair, and is prominently known for the spectroscopy rule named after him, the El-Sayed rule.

Another recipient of the National Medal of Science is David J. Wineland of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo. He has been cited for developing the technique of using lasers to cool and manipulate ions, with applications in extremely precise measurements and standards, quantum computing, and fundamental tests of quantum mechanics. Wineland’s work led to the development of the laser-cooled atomic clock. He also helped launch the field of experimental quantum computing.

Adam Heller and Carlton Grant Willson, both of the University of Texas, Austin were among the eight recipients of the Nationational Medal of Technology and Innovation. A rare recognition of two honorees from the same institution for separate discoveries, both men are also chemcial engineering professors at the univeristy.

Heller’s research in the field of electrochemisty and bioelectrochemisty have led to the development of products in the area of human health and well-being. In fact, his work enabled the creation of the painless glucose monitor for diabetics. Heller is also known for building the first inorganic liquid lasers and for showing that electrochemical solar cells can efficiently convert sunlight to electrical power and to chemical energy, stored as hydrogen. His cells were the first to exceed 10 percent solar conversion efficiency. 

Willson, also an SPIE Fellow, was cited for creating lithographic imaging materials and techniques that have enable the manufacturing of smaller, faster and more efficient micro-electronic components. He is also and active researcher and educator on microlithography.

Other recipients of the National Medal of Science include, Fay Ajzenberg-Selove, University of Pennsylvania; Leonard Kleinrock, University of California, Los Angeles; Robert J. Lefkowitz, Duke University Medical Center; Bert W. O’Malley, Baylor College of Medicine; Charles P. Slichter, University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign; and Andrew J. Viterbi, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. The National Science Foundation administers the award, which was established by Congress in 1959. For more information, visit:

Among the other recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation were Paul Baran, Novo Ventures, Inc.; Roscoe O. Brady, National Institutes of Health; David Cutler, Microsoft Corp.; Armand Feigenbaum, General Systems Co.; eBay Inc.; and Skunk Works, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. The Department of Commerce administers the award, which was established by an act of Congress in 1980. For more information, visit:

Laureates will receive their medals in a formal awards ceremony at the White House on Sept. 29, 2008, in the East Room.

A technique for producing micron-size structures on surfaces by using short-wavelength light or electron beams.
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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