President Clinton announced on Monday the 12 winners of this year's National Medals of Science. "These exceptional scientists and engineers have transfomed our world and enhanced our daily lives," the president remarked. "Their imagination and ingenuity will continue to inspire future generations of American scientists to remain at the cutting edge of scientific discovery and technological innovation." The honorees, who are described in brief below, will receive their medals at an awards dinner scheduled for December 1 in Washington, D.C.
Gary Becker, University Professor of Economics and Sociology, University of Chicago
Becker pioneered the economic analysis of racial discrimination and led recent developments in how social forces shape individual economic behavior.
Nancy C. Andreasen, Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City
Andreasen's pivotal contributions included joining behavioral science with the technologies of neuroscience and neuroimaging in order to understand processes such as memory and creativity.
Peter H. Raven, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Englemann Professor of Botany, Washington University in
Raven has become one of the world's leading authorities on plant systematics and evolution. He introduced the concept of coevolution and is a leader in international efforts to preserve biodiversity.
Carl R. Woese , Stanley O. Ikenberry Professor of Microbiology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Woese's molecular studies of RNA sequences revolutionized our view of life's history and its diversity. Using ribosomal RNA comparisons, his research led to the formulation of a universal tree of life, a quantitative map of evolutionary diversity.
John D. Baldeschwieler, J. Stanley Johnson Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology
Baldeschwieler's developments in molecular assemblies translated into practical pharmaceutical and instrumentation products. His work in developing new physical methods for the study of biological systems has led, for example, to the application of targeted delivery of pharmaceuticals for cancer diagnosis and therapy.
Ralph F. Hirschmann, Rao Makineni Professor of Bio-organic Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Hirschmann's work in several fields of chemistry with Merck & Co., Inc., led to the development of many lifesaving medicines. As the University of Pennsylvania's first Research Professor in Chemistry, he established a collaborative research program between the university and industry, leading to continued discoveries of biomedical importance.
Yuan-Cheng B. Fung, Professor Emeritus, Research Bioengineer, University of California at San Diego
Fung's theory of aeroelasticity formed the defining ideas in how aero-structures interact with aerodynamic flows, an important contribution to aerospace engineering. Applying analytical methods of mechanics to the study of biological tissues, he contributed new concepts in the field of biomechanics in which engineering principles are used to solve important biomedical problems.
John Griggs Thompson, Graduate Research Professor of Mathematics, University of Florida, Gainesville
Thompson is considered one of the foremost group theorists of all time, and his name is associated with one of the monumental achievements of the 20th century--the classification of all finite simple groups. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1970, the highest international honor in mathematics, regarded by some as the mathematics equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
Karen K. Uhlenbeck, Sid W. Richardson Foundation Chair in Mathematics, University of Texas - Austin
Uhlenbeck made pioneering contributions to global analysis and gauge theory that resulted in advances in mathematical physics and the theory of partial differential equations. She is considered a founder of geometry-based on analytical methods. She is also a leader in encouraging young women to study mathematics.
Willis E. Lamb, Regents Professor, University of Arizona
Lamb won the 1955 Nobel Prize for experimental work on hydrogen that revealed a new relativistic quantum effect. His work became one of the foundations of quantum electrodynamics. He also pioneered the field of laser physics.
Jeremiah P. Ostriker, Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy and Provost, Princeton University
Ostriker's contributions in astrophysics revolutionized concepts of the nature of pulsars, the sizes and masses of galaxies and the nature and distribution of matter in the universe.
Gilbert F. White, Gustavson Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Geography, Institute of Behavioral Science,
University of Colorado
White achieved national attention for his approaches on using nonstructural means to reduce damage from flooding. His research on the use of floodplains and their full range of social costs and benefits in different locales provided the basis for a new research paradigm and new public policy.