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January 3, 2012

2012 Sigma Xi Awards Honor Leading Scientists

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - Solomon W. Golomb at University of Southern California has be

en selected to receive Sigma Xi's 2012 William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement, the society's highest honor. While assistant chief of the Telecommunications Research Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Golomb played a key role in formulating the design of deep-space communications for lunar and planetary explorations.

The Procter Prize has been presented annually since 1950 to an outstanding scientist or engineer who is known for effective communication of complex ideas. Past recipients include Herbert Simon, Benoit Mandelbrot, Margaret Mead, Jane Goodall, Michael DeBakey and Stephen Jay Gould.

Golomb, while completing his Ph.D., spent a year in Norway as a Fulbright Fellow. He then worked as a Senior Research Mathematician at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, later becoming Research Group Supervisor and then Assistant Chief of the Telecommunications Research Section, where he played a key role in formulating the design of deep-space communications for the subsequent lunar and planetary explorations. Golomb, who joined USC as a professor in 1963, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of both the IEEE and AAAS. He received the USC Presidential Medallion in 1985, was awarded the title of University Professor in 1993 and won the Shannon Award of the Information Theory Society of the IEEE in 1985. He has received numerous awards and medals, as well as two honorary doctorate degrees. He was appointed the first holder of the Viterbi Chair in Communications in 1999. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Mathematics. Download a high-resolution photo

John P. McGovern Science and Society Award

World-renowned chemist Marye Anne Fox at the University of California San Diego has been named the recipient of Sigma Xi's John P. McGovern Science and Society Award. Fox is the seventh chancellor of the UC San Diego and a distinguished professor of chemistry.

Since her appointment as chancellor, the university has established new research and partnership ventures to further innovation and increase international collaboration, achieved an ambitious $1 billion campaign goal, expanded academic and campus programs and facilities, received national and international recognition in prominent university rankings and assembled a strong, diverse leadership team to ensure the university’s continued rise in excellence.

Before her current appointment, Fox served as North Carolina State University's 12th chancellor, as distinguished university professor of chemistry at N.C. State (from 1998 to 2004) and as Waggoner Regents Chair in chemistry and Vice President for Research at the University of Texas at Austin. She joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin in 1976, after a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Maryland. Fox received her B.S. from Notre Dame College and her Ph.D. from Dartmouth College, both in chemistry She has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and to fellowships both in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association of Advancement of Science. In October 2010, President Barack Obama named Fox to receive the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers and inventors. She has also received honorary degrees from 12 institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Fox was born in Canton, Ohio in 1947. Download a high-resolution photo

Walston Chubb Award for Innovation

Joseph DeSimone at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will receive the 2012 Walston Chubb Award for Innovation. DeSimone is the Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry at UNC and William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University. He is also an adjunct member of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York. DeSimone has published over 260 scientific articles and has over 115 issued patents in his name with over 120 patents pending. In 2005 DeSimone was elected into the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. DeSimone has received 40 major awards and recognitions including the 2009 NIH Director's Pioneer Award; the 2009 North Carolina Award; and the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for Invention and Innovation. Download a high-resolution photo

The Chubb Award is designed to honor and promote creativity among scientists and engineers. Previous recipients include Patrick Usoro, Stan Ovshinsky and Mark Holtzapple.

Young Investigator Award

Sivaguru Jayaraman at North Dakota State University will be honored with Sigma Xi's 2012 Young Investigator Award. His research involves the use of light to initiate chemical reactions and control photoreactivity in the excited state using molecular design and nanoconfinement. The cornerstone of Siva’s program involves synthetic effort that allows a freedom of design to produce new structural motifs not only for studying stereoselective reactions, but also for chemical and bio-molecular recognition of encapsulated guests within water soluble nano-reaction vessels. Dr. Siva’s research investigates the molecular and supramolecular assembly characteristics of systems to gain a deeper understanding of the interplay between molecular structure, assembly, dynamics and the role of external interactions critical for molecular recognition events in light-initiated reactions.

Additionally, Siva’s research group uses modern molecular tools and spectroscopic techniques to gain deeper understanding of molecular interactions in chemical and biological systems, using light as both a reagent that initiates the chemistry and as the product of excited state reactivity of organic molecules. Download a high-resolution photo

The Young Investigator Award includes $5,000 and a certificate of recognition. Sigma Xi members within 10 years of their highest earned degree are eligible for this award.

Honorary Life Member

Science author and journalist Dennis Meredith will be inducted as an Honorary Life Member of Sigma Xi. Meredith's career as a science communicator has included service at some of the country's leading research universities, including MIT, Caltech, Cornell, Duke and the University of Wisconsin. He has worked with science journalists at all the nation's major newspapers, magazines and radio and TV networks and has written well over 1,000 news releases and magazine articles on science and engineering over his career.

He has served on the executive board of the National Association of Science Writers and is a contributor to its magazine ScienceWriters. He wrote the NASW handbook on media relations, Communicating Science News. He has also served as a judge for the NASW Science-in-Society Awards and the AAAS Science Writing Awards. He won the latter award himself — for newspapers under 100,000 circulation — in 1974. He was a creator and developer of EurekAlert!, working with AAAS to establish this international research news service, which now links more than 4,500 journalists to news from 800 subscribing research institutions.

He has also worked with federal agencies and scientific journals, including NSF and the Public Library of Science, to help them develop policies for communicating research and collaborating with public information officers. Since 1983, noted science advocates, top science journalists and friends of research who have made important contributions to science but are not eligible for Sigma Xi membership, have been elected Honorary Members. Download a high-resolution photo

Evan Ferguson Award

Nancy Elwess at the SUNY Plattsburgh Chapter will receive the Evan Ferguson Award for Service to Sigma Xi. She is a past president and vice president and currently secretary of the SUNY Plattsburgh Chapter. Since joining Sigma Xi in 1999, she has nominated 63 research students for membership. She strongly encourages her research students to apply for grants early in their careers, and several have received Sigma Xi Grants in Aid of Research. President Obama named Elwess a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. She is one of a handful of college faculty from across the country to receive this award. Download a high-resolution photo

Profiles of award winners will appear in upcoming issues of American Scientist magazine.

About Sigma Xi
Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is the international honor society of research scientists and engineers, with more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities, government laboratories and industry research centers. Membership is by invitation, in recognition of research potential or achievement. Over the years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members have received the Nobel Prize. In addition to publishing American Scientist, the non-profit Society awards hundreds of grants annually to student researchers and sponsors a variety of programs that support science and engineering.


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