May 10, 2007
Vol. 26 No. 16

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    Three alumni in prestigious group of researchers honored by the DOE

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    Three Chicago alumni are among the eight researchers who have received the 2006 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. The award honors scientists and engineers at mid-career for exceptional contributions in research and development that support the energy department’s mission to advance the national, economic and energy security of the nation.

    “This really shows that the University of Chicago is setting the agenda in science,” said Michael Turner, Argonne National Laboratory’s Chief Scientist and the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor in the Kavli Institute and the College.

    The showing reminded Turner of the 1999 National Medal of Science roster. Three of the 12 medalists that year were current members of the faculty, one was an emeritus professor and one was an alumna. “This is the idea place,” Turner said.

    The DOE cited Paul Alivisatos and Moungi Bawendi in the materials research category “for chemical synthesis and characterization of functional semiconducting nanocrystals, also known as quantum dots.”

    Marc Kamionkowski was cited in the high-energy and nuclear physics category “for his theoretical analyses demonstrating that precise observations of the cosmic microwave background can lead to deep understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe, thereby motivating a series of increasingly precise cosmological experiments.”

    Alivisatos is the Larry and Diane Boch professor of nanotechnology at the University of California, Berkeley, and associate laboratory director for physical sciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, with honors, from Chicago in 1981.

    Bawendi is a professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a graduate student he worked first on polymer theory with Karl Freed, the Henry J. Gale Distinguished Service Professor in Chemistry and the College.

    Later, he then conducted experiments on molecular ion spectroscopy with Takeshi Oka, the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Chemistry and the College. Bawendi received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University in 1988.

    Kamionkowski is the Robinson professor of theoretical physics and astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology. Kamionkowski, who received his doctorate in physics from the University in 1991, did his graduate work with Turner.

    Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and Under Secretary for Science Raymond Orbach presented the awards Wednesday, March 28 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Each award consists of a gold medal, a citation and a $50,000 honorarium.