Five Harvard scientists--including a mathematician, a physicist and a professor of pediatrics--will be among 20 recipients of this year's National Medal of Science awards, one of the nation's top science honors.
The award ceremony, to be held next Tuesday at the White House, will mark the first time that five scientists from a single university have won the medal in the same year. Harvard scholars have won 27 of the 284 medals presented since former president John F. Kennedy '40 established the award in 1961.
Harvard's 1990 winners include Baruj Benacerraf, chair of the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School; Elkan R. Blout, director of the Division of Biological Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health; George F. Carrier, professor of applied mathematics emeritus; David G. Nathan, professor of pediatrics; and Robert V. Pound, professor of physics emeritus.
Also honored will be Roger Revelle, professor of population emeritus, who is now conducting research in La Jolla, California.
Several of the recipients said this week that they were happy to receive recognition for their work, although one credited much of his success to his assistants.
"This medal should be split into 90 pieces," Nathan said in a statement. "And one given to each of the bright young people who solved the problems that I threw at them. They did much of the work and they should receive the credit."
A Banner Year
This year's announcement comes only weeks after two Harvard scientists--Emery Professor of Chemistry Elias J. Corey and Professor of Surgery Emeritus Joseph E. Murray--won Nobel Prizes in chemistry and medicine, respectively.
Paul C. Martin '52, dean of the Division of Applied Sciences, said yesterday that the honors are well-deserved.
"We're always ecstatic when someone here receives an award, but we're most proud of the work that's consistently being done," Martin said.
Candidates are nominated by the National Academy of Sciences and other scientific and engineering organizations. Winners are then chosen by the President's Office of Science and Technology on the basis of the researcher's entire scientific contributions.
Benacerraf, Fabvan Professor at the Medical School, was the 1980 recipient of theNobel Prize for Medicine. He has researched thebody's genetic response to allergies andtransplanted organs.
Blout has studied the structure of proteins. Hehas been treasurer of the National Academy ofSciences since 1980, and spent ten years as theacademic dean of Harvard's School of PublicHealth.
Carrier has directed his mathematical geniustowards a better understanding of tidal waves,fuel efficiency in futuristic aircraft and anuclear winter scenario.
Nathan has investigated blood diseases andcontributed to the elimination of new cases ofthalassemia in the Mediterranean.
Pound has verified a prediction of Einstein'stheory of relativity and performed the firstexperiments detecting nuclear magnetic resonance,a field with wide-ranging medical applications. Heis credited with aiding in the development of themodern radar