National Medal of ScienceCrosscutting Programs NSF Wide Flag

2009 Laureates

Yakir Aharonov, Chapman University, for his work in quantum physics which ranges from the Aharonov-Bohm effect, to the notion of weak measurement, making him one of the most influential figures in modern physics.

Stephen J. Benkovic, Pennsylvania State University, for his seminal research that has changed our understanding of how enzymes function, singly or in complexes, and has led to novel pharmaceuticals and biocatalysts.

Esther M. Conwell, University of Rochester, for promoting women in science, and for contributions to understanding electron and hole transport in semiconducting materials that has helped to enable integrated circuits and organic electronic devices.

Marye Anne Fox, University of California, San Diego, for seminal contributions to chemistry by elucidating the role that non-homogeneous environments can exert on excited-state processes, and enhancing our understanding of charge-transfer reactions and their application to such fields as polymers, solar energy conversion, and nanotechnology.

Susan Lee Lindquist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for showing that changes in protein folding can have profound and unexpected influences in fields as wide-ranging as human disease, evolution and nanotechnology, and for providing fundamental experimental support for the prion hypothesis. The prion hypothesis is a key scientific assertion associated with a group of progressive conditions that affect the brain and nervous system of many animals, including humans.

Mortimer Mishkin, National Institutes of Health, for fundamental contributions to understanding the functional organization of the primate brain, including the discovery of the role of the inferior temporal cortex in vision, delineation of the selective contributions of medial temporal lobe structures to memory, and discovery of the neural bases of cognitive and noncognitive memory systems.

David B. Mumford, Brown University, for extraordinary contributions to the mathematical, engineering and neurobiological sciences.

Stanley B. Prusiner, University of California, San Francisco, for his discovery of prions representing an unprecedented class of infectious agents comprised only of proteins, which elucidated a novel paradigm of disease in which a single pathogenic process produces infectious, inherited or sporadic illnesses in humans and animals.

Warren M. Washington, National Center for Atmospheric Research, for his fundamental contributions to the understanding of Earth's coupled climate system through numerical simulation, leadership in U.S. science policy, and inspiring mentorship of young people of all backgrounds and origins.

Amnon Yariv, California Institute of Technology, for scientific and engineering contributions to photonics and quantum electronics that have profoundly impacted lightwave communications and the field of optics as a whole.


* Photo Credits: Ryan K Morris Photography and the National Science & Technology Medals Foundation.