Anderson '55 Wins National Medal of Science

Don L. Anderson '55, a professor of geophysics at the California Institute of Technology, has been named a 1998 recipient of the National Medal of Science, the country's highest scientific honor. The announcement was made Dec. 8 at the White House by President Clinton.
   Anderson, who was awarded the 1998 Crafoord Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in September (see Dec. '98 Rensselaer), is one of nine Americans to be recognized. In naming this year's recipients, Clinton cited the scientists for "their lifetime of passion, perseverance, and persistence to bring about new knowledge that extends the limits of their fields and drives our nation forward into a new century."
   According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), which administers the awards, the individuals recognized have had wide-ranging impact on social policy, cancer research, materials science, and greatly extended knowledge of our Earth and the solar systems. Their theoretical achievements also led to many practical applications.
   Clinton cited the winners for "their creativity, resolve, and a restless spirit of innovation to ensure continued U.S. leadership across the frontiers of scientific knowledge."
   "These are superstars in their respective fields," said Rita Colwell, director of the NSF. "They've contributed a lifetime of stunning discoveries. We can only recognize them once with a science medal, but we applaud them daily for their continual contributions to humankind, to the reservoir of scientific knowledge and for the impact they have on the students they mentor and educate along the way."
   Anderson, the Eleanor and John R. McMillan Professor of Geophysics at Caltech, was cited for his contributions in understanding the processes of Earth and Earth-like planets, as well as his promotion of the earth sciences during his three-decade career.
   Anderson has been a leading figure in "deep Earth" research since the 1960s. He was director of the Seismological Laboratory at Caltech from 1967 to 1989.
   Including this year's recipients, the National Medal of Science now has been awarded to 362 leading U.S. scientists and engineers. The medal was established by Congress in 1959 and is administered by NSF. It honors individuals who have significantly advanced knowledge in the fields of behavioral and social sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. A 12-member presidential committee reviews nominations for the annual awards.


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