Press Release 08-079

Aerospace Business Leader, Supreme Problem Solver, and Innovative Science Communications Programs Capture Public's Interest in Science


Photo of Terry Tao signing autographs for students at Thomas Jefferson High School, Arlington, Va.

Terry Tao signs autographs for students at Thomas Jefferson High School in Arlington, Va.
Credit and Larger Version

May 9, 2008

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and its policy arm, the National Science Board (NSB), this week presented its annual awards, the Alan T. Waterman Award, the Vannevar Bush Award and the Public Service Award.

UCLA Professor of Mathematics Terence Tao was presented with the Alan T. Waterman Award. The annual Waterman Award recognizes an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by the NSF and carries a $500,000 grant for a three-year period. Often called a "supreme problem solver," and the "Mozart of Math," Tao and his work have had a tremendous impact across several mathematical areas. Tao spent a day at NSF, during which he conducted a seminar on his mathematical concepts and participated in an interview with NSF's Assistant Director for Math and the Physical Sciences Tony Chan, during which they describe Tao's research, his style of research and plans for future exploration, and larger questions with significance to understanding the scientific enterprise today. Excerpts from this interview are attached.

Esteemed businessman and aerospace engineer Norman Augustine was awarded the prestigious Vannevar Bush Medal, an award the NSB presents to an individual whom, through public service activities in science and technology, has made an outstanding "contribution toward the welfare of mankind and the nation." As Augustine was unable to accept the award in person, he pre-recorded a message last week during a conference that assessed progress on recommendations in "Rising Above the Gathering Storm," a report published two years ago by nonprofit, business and government experts in science and engineering, also known as, "Augustine Commission." In his message, Augustine addressed the NSB in its open plenary.

The NSB also presented two public service awards to organizations: SAE International, for which 2008 SAE President Thomas Ryan accepted the award and addressed the NSB; and the Bayer Corporation, for which Bayer President and CEO Attila Molnar accepted the award, and Mae Jemison, Bayer's national spokesperson for its award-winning program Making Science Make Sense, addressed the NSB's open plenary session. Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel in space, participated in an on-camera interview with Kathie Olsen, NSF's deputy director (excerpts from which will soon be posted on the NSF website).

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311, lisajoy@nsf.gov

Program Contacts
Mayra N. Montrose, NSF, (703) 292-4757, mmontros@nsf.gov
Jennifer Lynn Richards, NSF, (703) 292-7000, jlrichar@nsf.gov

Related Websites
Announcement of Terence Tao as Waterman Awardee: http://www.nsf.gov/news/longurl.cfm?id=52
Announcement of Norm Augustine as Vannevar Bush Award: /news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=111409
Annhttp://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntnouncement of Public Service Awardees: http://www.nsf.gov/news/longurl.cfm?id=54
National Science Board: http://www.nsf.gov/nsb
SAE International's Announcement on PR Newswire: http://www.nsf.gov/news/longurl.cfm?id=53

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, its budget is $7.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 48,000 competitive proposals for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Useful NSB Web Sites:
Home Page: http://www.nsf.gov/nsb
Media Contact: http://www.nsf.gov/staff/staff_bio.jsp?lan=nlymn&org=NSF
News: http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/news
Meetings: http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/meetings
Publications: http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/publications
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NationalScienceBoard
Twitter: Twitter: https://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=NSF_NSB
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkrHRzuGSrPp2haQs0T_Pww