Four APS members were among the 12 recipients of the 1999 National Medal of Science selected in January by President Clinton. To date, 374 medals have been bestowed on leading US scientists and engineers since Congress established the award in 1959. Administered by the National Science Foundation, the National Medal of Science is intended to honor the discoveries and lifetime achievements of the nation's top scientists The new medalists, the last to be named in the 20th century, received their medals on March 14 at the White House in Washington, DC, along with five recipients of the National Medal of Technology.
Among the recipients is James Cronin of the University of Chicago, who shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physics with former APS president Val Fitch for discovering CP violation, one of the essential ingredients in explaining the predominance of matter over antimatter in the universe. He is being honored for "fundamental contributions to the fields of elementary particle physics and astrophysics, and as a leader in creating an international effort to determine the unknown origins of very high-energy cosmic rays." Another University of Chicago scientist, Leo Kadanoff, was honored for his contributions to fundamental theoretical research in statistical, solid state and nonlinear physics, "which has led to numerous and important applications in engineering, urban planning, computer science, hydrodynamics, biology, applied mathematics, and geophysics."
In addition, chemical physicist Stuart Rice, also of the University of Chicago, was honored for "changing the very nature of modern physical chemistry through his research, teaching and writing, and for using imaginative approaches to both experiment and theory that have inspired a new generation of scientists." In addition to the trio of Chicagoans, John Ross, professor of chemistry at Stanford University, was honored "for his enormous impact in physical chemistry, especially in molecular studies, statistical mechanics, nonlinear kinetics, and for opening up new fields in chemical science."
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Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette