APS News

Members In The Spotlight

Mildred Dresselhaus, an Institute Professor of electrical engineering at MIT and former APS president, assumed the presidency of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in January. She identified three major areas on which she intends to focus her efforts as AAAS president: (1) interesting young people in science and improving scientific literacy; (2) encouraging young physicists in today's tight job market; and (3) further educating the scientific community about the federal budget process. She is a recipient of the National Medal of Honor, and also founded the highly successful MIT's Women's Forum in 1970 to support the careers of women in science and engineering at the Institute.

Diola Bagayoko, a physics professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and APS member, was one of 10 individuals awarded the first annual Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in September 1996. He was recognized for his contributions to encouraging minorities to earn degrees in these fields. The White House established the awards as a strategy to achieve the goal of developing a pool of highly trained scientists and engineers that reflect the nation's diverse population. Bagayoko's belief in the effectiveness of mentoring has influenced his approach as director of the university's Timbuktu Academy, an undergraduate research program that has been nationally recognized for its outstanding achievements in mathematics, science and engineering education.

Dean Zollman, a professor of physics at Kansas State University (KSU), was named 1996 Professor of the Year at a research and doctoral university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The national award includes a $5,000 cash prize and certificate of recognition. Zollman received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1970, and promptly joined the faculty of KSU. He was recognized for his contributions to teaching physics using a variety of new methods - including film, interactive videotapes, and CD-ROMs - to provide students with hands-on experience to help them understand how physics plays a role in everyday life.

In December, President Clinton named 60 young, independent researchers - nine of them APS members - to receive the first annual Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The APS members honored are Eric Cornell of NIST; Andrea Bertozzi, Duke University; Peter Sercel, University of Oregon; Shenda Baker, Harvey Mudd College; John Hill, Brookhaven National Laboratory; Michael Smith, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Juan de Pablo, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Marilyn Gunner, City College of CUNY; and Charles Marcus, Stanford University. Created last spring, the awards recognize demonstrated excellence and promise of future success in scientific or engineering research, as well as the potential for eventual leadership in their respective fields. Candidates are nominated by agencies across the federal government and recipients receive up to $500,000 over a five-year period to further their research. "From the ranks of these outstanding young researchers will come tomorrow's leaders in science and technology, our university faculties, and our Nobel laureates," said John Gibbons, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. "The talents of these young professionals will create the world of the 21st century."

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin