UC Berkeley press release

NEWS RELEASE #14561, 4/30/97

Ozone chemist Harold Johnston & nuclear chemist Darleane Hoffman to receive 1997 National Medal of Science

By Robert Sanders

Berkeley -- Atmospheric chemist Harold S. Johnston and nuclear chemist Darleane C. Hoffman, professors at UC Berkeley and researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, are among nine winners of the prestigious National Medal of Science announced April 30 by the White House and the National Science Foundation.

The two chemists will receive the medal later this year during a ceremony at the White House, along with the other recipients of the Medal of Science and the recipients of the National Medal of Technology. The Medal of Science, which is awarded by the president, is the United States' equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Johnston, 76, professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley, was among the first to sound the alarm in the 1970s that human activities can harm the Earth's atmosphere. His scientific concerns about the effects of man-made chemicals on the ozone layer, heatedly attacked at the time, have been borne out by the subsequent discovery of ozone holes over the Earth's poles. Click here for more detail.

Hoffman, 70, a professor in the graduate school at UC Berkeley and a faculty senior scientist in the Nuclear Science Division at LBNL, is internationally recognized for her studies of the chemistry of very heavy elements -- most recently the heaviest elements known, 104, 105 and 106. In 1993 she was among the researchers who confirmed the existence of element 106, since named seaborgium after the UC Berkeley chemist and Nobel Prize winner. Click here for more detail.

The National Medal of Science, established by Congress in 1959 and administered by the National Science Foundation, honors individuals who have made a major impact on the present state of knowledge in the fields of physical, biological, mathematical, engineering or social and behavioral sciences. Since it was first awarded in 1962, 22 UC Berkeley faculty members have received the medal.

"It is important that the nation publicly repay its debt to these outstanding men and women, whose contributions to science have helped to advance human learning, fight disease and provide insight into the central questions of the nature of universe and humanity's place in it," said NSF Director Neal Lane in announcing the winners.

The other recipients of the National Medal of Science are the late Martin Schwarzschild, Higgins Professor of Astronomy Emeritus at Princeton University; Nobel Laureate James D. Watson, president of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; William K. Estes, professor emeritus of psychology at Harvard University; Marshall N. Rosenbluth, professor and research physicist, University of California at San Diego; Robert A. Weinberg, member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; George W. Wetherill, member of the department of terrestrial magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of Washington; and Shing-Tung Yau, professor of mathematics at Harvard University.

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