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1999 National Medals of Science and Technology

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J. W. Stewart
It's that time of year again: On March 14 President Bill Clinton will hand out the country's highest science and technology awards, the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology. Of this year's 17 recipients, announced on January 31, Clinton said: "We honor these exceptional U.S. scientists and engineers for their achievements, contributions and innovations that have sustained U.S. leadership across the frontiers of scientific and technological knowledge, thereby enhancing our ability to shape and improve our nation's future." Our yearbook of the winners follows:


Biology

David Baltimore
Professor of Biology and President of the California Institute of Technology

Education:
Swarthmore College, B.S., 1960
Rockefeller University, Ph.D., 1964

Baltimore is perhaps best known for his identification of the enzyme reverse transcriptase, which earned him a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1975. He was only 37 years old at the time. The discovery shed new light on the behavior of retroviruses, such as HIV. Baltimore was named head of the National Institutes of Health AIDS Vaccine Research Committee in 1996. As an administrator, Baltimore has also served as president of the Rockefeller University and as a founding director of M.I.T.'s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Baltimore has written for Scientific American.


Jared Diamond
Professor of Physiology
University of California, Los Angeles
School of Medicine

Education:
University of Cambridge, Ph.D.

Diamond is recognized for applying theories of Darwinian evolution to physiology, ecology, conservation biology and human history. He has also won fame as a science writer. Diamond has authored best-selling books, such as The Third Chimpanzee, and more than 200 articles for popular science magazines. In 1998, he won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies.


Lynn Margulis
Distinguished University Professor, Geosciences
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Education:
University of Chicago, A.B., 1957
University of Wisconsin, M.S., 1960
U. California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 1963

Margulis is acclaimed for her ideas proposing that cellular organelles and cells themselves have evolved by way of hereditary symbiosis. In short, the theory holds that components of cells (such as plastids and mitochondria) began as independent biological widgets (in this case, cyanobacteria and respiring bacteria, respectively) and, through cooperation with one another, eventually became part of the same living machine. She has also written popular works for the public, including an article for Scientific American and a 1998 book, Symbiotic Planet: A New View of Evolution.


Chemistry

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Stuart Rice
Frank P. Hixon, Distinguished Service Professor
The James Frank Institute, University of Chicago

Education:
Brooklyn College, S.B., 1952
Harvard University, A.M., 1954; Ph.D., 1955

Rice will be awarded the National Medal for "changing the very nature of modern physical chemistry"--a feat he has accomplished through research in two main areas. His first focus has been finding ways to actively control quantum dynamical processes and so manipulate which products are formed during chemical reactions. Also, Rice is interested in the properties of liquid-vapor and liquid-solid interfaces and, more generally, the properties of quasi-two-dimensional systems.


John Ross
Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University

Education:
Queens College, B.S., 1948
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D., 1951

Ross is recognized for his contributions in molecular studies, statistical mechanics, and nonlinear kinetics and for creating new research areas in chemistry. He currently pursues experimental and theoretical investigations in a field called chemical instabilities, which involves--among other things--untangling complex reaction mechanisms and determining the thermodynamics and statistical mechanics of systems far from equilibrium.


Susan Solomon
Senior Scientist, Aeronomy Laboratory
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Solomon is cited for her insights into the origins of the ozone hole over the Antarctic, which have guided the direction of ozone research in recent years. She has also played a vital role in public policy regarding ozone research. With Nobel Laureate F. Sherwood Rowland, Solomon directed the creation of Common Questions about Ozone to educate those outside of the scientific community about the causes and effects of atmospheric ozone.


Economic Sciences

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Robert Solow
Institute Professor Emeritus
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Education:
Harvard University, B.S., Ph.D.

Solow has taught for some 50 years at M.I.T., where he has also made substantial contributions to the theory of economic growth. For his accomplishments, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1987. In short, Solow developed the modern framework for assessing economic growth and for determining the significance of contributions to that growth from various factors, including a greater stock of real capital, technological progress, better education, improved efficiency and the like. Solow has written for Scientific American.


Engineering

Kenneth Stevens
C. J. LeBel Professor of Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Education:
University of Toronto, Canada, B.A.Sc., 1945, Engineering Physics
University of Toronto, Canada, M.A.Sc., 1948, Engineering Physics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sc.D., 1952, Electrical Engineering

Stevens, also at M.I.T. for nearly 50 years, showed that distinctions between speech sounds use special nonlinear relations between articulation and acoustic output; as a result, speakers can produce correct sounds without hitting all of the individual articulator targets--say, the back of the teeth or the roof of the mouth. This insight, along with others he has had into the theory and practice of speech, has made possible the development of speech synthesis and recognition technology.


Mathematics

Felix Browder
University Professor, Rutgers University
President of the American Mathematical Society

Browder has played a key role in the explosive growth of nonlinear functional analysis and its applications to partial differential equations in recent years. Also, as President of the AMS, he has lobbied in Washington for better math education and increased funding, and sought to strengthen the ties between mathematics and other academic disciplines. Renowned for his intellect, Browder's home library contains more than 30,000 volumes.


Ronald Coifman
Phillips Professor of Mathematics
Yale University

Education:
University of Geneva, Ph.D., 1965

Coifman, who is also a professor in Yale's computer science department, holds a patent with the school for his discovery of wavelet packets, which serve as a mathematical shorthand for compressing or clarifying video and audio waves. Among other applications, the FBI and Scotland Yard have used Coifman's wavelet packets to compress fingerprint files. Coifman has contributed to three books and more than 100 articles.


Physical Sciences

James Cronin
University Professor Emeritus
The Enrico Fermi Institute
University of Chicago

Education:
Southern Methodist University, B.S., 1951
University of Chicago, M.S., 1953; Ph.D., 1955

Cronin received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1980 for the codiscovery of violations of fundamental symmetry principles in the decay of neutral K-mesons--one of several contributions he has made to elementary particle physics. Cronin will also lead efforts to study the nature and origin of rare, high-energy cosmic rays that periodically bombard Earth. This project--with University of Leeds professor Alan Watson and more than 250 scientists from 19 nations--will begin observations at the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina in 2001. Cronin wrote about these rays in an article in Scientific American in March 1998.


Leo Kadanoff
John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor
The James Franck Institute
University of Chicago

Kadanoff is best known as a leader in the field of chaos theory. He showed that sudden changes, or second order phase transitions, in material properties can all be understood in terms of scaling and universality. These two ideas have found numerous applications in a wide range of disciplines--from urban planning, computer science and hydrodynamics to biology, applied mathematics and geophysics. The textbook he co-authored, Quantum Statistical Mechanics, is regarded as a classic, and like his colleague and co-recipient James Cronin, he has won the Quantrell Prize for his excellence in teaching.


Technology

Glen Culler
Chief Scientist and Chairman of the Board (retired)
Culler Scientific Systems Corporation

Education:
Berkeley, UCLA

Culler was one of the first scientists to foresee "user-friendly" computing. His ideas are widely viewed as seeding such developments as electronic mail, programmable calculators, function keys and voice message systems. Today's computing environment owes much to Culler's work in networking, signal and speech processing and parallel architectures--and his invention of the first on-line system for interactive, graphical computing. This system--implemented at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where Culler joined the faculty in 1959--helped secure UCSB's position as one of four original sites for the Arpanet.

Raymond Kurzweil
Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Kurzweil Technologies, Inc.

Education:
M.I.T., B.S., 1970

For his computer algorithm capable of writing new music in a given composer's style, Kurzweil won the International Science Fair as a teenager in 1964. A few years later, he started his first company. And now, more than 10 firsts--including the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, Optical Character Recognition system and commercial speech recognition device--and seven companies later, he is still breaking new ground. Kurzweil has written three books, holds nine honorary doctorates and has received more than 20 awards for his work. He wrote an article on the coming merging of mind and machine for Scientific American Presents in September 1999.


Robert Swanson (deceased)
Chairman, K&E Management, Ltd.

Education:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, B.S., M.S.

Swanson is credited with taking recombinant DNA technology from the lab to the market--and, in doing so, helping to establish the biotechnology industry. Working with UCSF researcher Herbert Boyer and venture capitalist Thomas Perkins, Swanson pooled the talent and backing needed to found Genentech in 1976. He served as director and CEO until 1990, when he became Chairman. He retired from that position in 1996 and formed K&E Management, a private investment management firm.


Robert Taylor

When he was the director of the Information Processing Techniques Office at the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), Taylor conceived of the Internet, and proposed the creation of its prototype, Arpanet, in the 1960s. In the 1970s, he founded the Computer Science Laboratory at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center--birthplace of the Ethernet, graphical-user interface and laser printing, among other key inventions. And in the 1980s, Taylor started the Systems Research Center at the Digital Equipment Corporation, where many firsts--including the first multiprocessor workstation and the first electronic book--were developed under Taylor's management.


Symbol Technologies

Earning the only corporate award this year, Symbol Technologies is responsible for creating a global market for portable bar-code scanners. They have also pioneered such innovations as the scanner-integrated computer, the wearable scanning computer, the spread spectrum-based wireless LAN and the portable self-checkout shopping system.

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