Tech, Sci Medalists Named
WASHINGTON, June 18, 2007 -- Photonics-related research pioneers are among recipients of National Medals of Science and Technology announced recently by President Bush.
Winners of the 2005 National Medal of Technology include Alfred Y. Cho, adjunct vice president of semiconductor research at Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs, and Semiconductor Research Corp., of Durham, N.C.
Two Northwestern University faculty members were awarded 2005 National Medals of Science for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research: Jan D. Achenbach, professor of mechanical engineering, civil and environmental engineering and engineering sciences and applied mathematics, and Tobin J. Marks, professor of materials science and engineering.
Cho, a 39-year veteran of Bell Labs, is being recognized for his contributions to the invention of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and his work to refine it into a commercial process. MBE 'grows' ordered materials one atomic layer at a time, allowing engineering of the highly precise semiconductor components needed for advanced electronics and photonics. The technology has enabled many of the advanced devices critical to the modern electronic age, including radio frequency switches and front-end and power amplifiers in cell phones, and the semiconductor lasers used in today's compact disc players and CD-ROM drives. This is the eighth time Bell Labs and its scientists have received the award.
Semiconductor Research was recognized for building "the world’s largest and most successful university research force to support the rapid growth of the semiconductor industry, for proving the concept of collaborative research as the first high-tech research consortium and for creating the concept and methodology that evolved into the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors," the commerce department said in a statement.
Achenbach was honored for his contributions to engineering research and education in the area of wave propagation in solids and for pioneering the field of quantitative nondestructive evaluation. Marks was honored for his pioneering research in the areas of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, organo-f-element chemistry, new electronic and photonic materials and diverse areas of coordination and solid-state chemistry.
Achenbach is a researcher in solid mechanics and quantitative nondestructive evaluation who has made major contributions in the field of propagation of mechanical disturbances in solids. Founder of Northwestern's Center for Quality Engineering and Failure Prevention, he has achieved important results in quantitative nondestructive evaluation of materials, damage mechanisms in composites, and vibrations of complex structures and has developed methods for flaw detection and characterization by ultrasonic scattering methods.
Marks' research focuses on the design, synthesis and in-depth characterization of new substances having important chemical, physical and/or biological properties. His work is credited with having major impact on contemporary catalysis with seminal research in the areas of organo-f-element homogeneous catalysis, metal-ligand bonding energetics, supported organometallic catalysis and metallocene polymerization catalysis.
Marks, who joined Northwestern in 1970, is a leader in the development and understanding of single-site olefin polymerization catalysis and in the study of new materials that have remarkable electrical, mechanical, interfacial and photonic properties.
He designed a co-catalyst that led to what is now a standard process for producing better polyolefins, including polyethylene and polypropylene. Found in everything from sandwich wrap to long underwear, these versatile and inexpensive plastics are more lightweight and recyclable than previous plastics.
In his molecular optoelectronics work, Marks designs arrays of "smart" molecules that will self-assemble into, or spontaneously form, structures that can conduct electricity, switch light on and off, detect light and turn sunlight into electricity. These structures could lead to the world's most versatile and stable light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and to flexible "plastic" transistors.
Other recipients of the 2005 Medal of Science are: Ralph A. Alpher, formerly with the Dudley Observatory, Schenectady, N.Y.; Gordon H. Bower, Stanford University; Bradley Efron, Stanford University; Anthony S. Fauci, National Institute of Health; Tobin J. Marks, Northwestern University; Lonnie G. Thompson, Ohio State University; and Torsten N. Wiesel, The Rockefeller University.
Alpher, of Austin, Texas, is a distinguished research professor of physics and astronomy emeritus of Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., an emeritus board member of the Dudley Observatory in Schenectady and a former GE researcher. His PhD dissertation (George Washington University) on the Big Bang theory in 1948 brought into being the scientific theory of the origin of the universe. His paper said the universe occurred 14 billion years ago with a superhot explosion.
"No one accepted these ridiculous ideas until 1964 when two radio astronomers showed Alpher's theory was correct. Unfortunately, they received the Nobel Prize, not Ralph Alpher," the White House Office of Science & Technology Policys said in a statement.
Other Medal of Technology laureates are: Genzyme Corp., a Cambridge, Mass., biotechnology leader, for "pioneering a business that has led to dramatic improvements in the health of thousands of patients with rare diseases and harnessing the promise of biotechnology to develop innovative new therapies"; Dean L. Sicking, professor of civil engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, for innovative design and development of roadside and racetrack safety technologies that dissipate the energy of high-speed crashes; and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals team (Wyeth headquarters, Madison, N.J.) members Donald Eby (retired, of Syracuse, N.Y.), Velupillai Puvanesarajah (of Sanford, N.C.; currently employed by Sanofi Pasteur Inc.), Dace Madore (Pittsford, N.Y.), and Maya Koster (Pearl River, N.Y.), for their work in the discovery, development and manufacture of Prevnar, the first-ever vaccine to prevent the deadly and disabling consequences of Streptococcus pneumoniae infections in children. It has been described as the single most important advance in pediatric medicine in the last decade.
Xerox Corp., of Stamford, Conn., was recognized for more than 50 years of innovation in marking, materials, electronics, communications and software that created the modern reprographics, digital printing and print-on-demand industries.
Winners of the 2006 Medals of Science and Technology will be announced later this summer; after which awards for both years will presented by the president at a White House ceremony.
For more information, visit: www.nsf.gov/od/nms/medal.jsp. For Medal of Science nomination information, visit: www.technology.gov/medal/
- 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...
MORE FROM PHOTONICS MEDIA