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2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

We are excited to announce that three of this year's 16 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom are Sigma Xi Members. The year 2013 also marked the 50th anniversary of this award, first instituted by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, as the nation's highest civilian honor, "presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

The awards will be presented at a ceremony at the White House on November 20th. Please join us in congratulating these outstanding Sigma Xi members in this wonderful accomplishment.

Mario Jose Molina (SX 1973) earned the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for discovering how chlorofluorocarbons deplete the ozone layer. Molina currently serves as a professor at the University of California, San Diego; director of the Mario Molina Center for Energy and Environment; and a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He is the recipient of the 1983 Tyler Environmental Prize, the 1987 NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, the 1999 Sasakawa Environmental Prize, the 2003 Heinz Award, and the 2004 Volvo Environmental Prize. Sigma Xi has been especially proud of his service as a Society Distinguished Lecturer and in 2002, honored him with the prestigious John P. McGovern Science and Society Award.

Daniel Kahneman (SX 1982) is a pioneering scholar of psychology and winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in prospect theory. After escaping Nazi occupation in 1940 as a resident of Paris, France, Kahneman and his family immigrated to Israel, where he served in the Israel Defense Forces and trained as a psychologist. He is currently a professor at Princeton University and has served in recent years as a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer.

Sally Ride (SX 1978) was the first American female astronaut and youngest person to travel to space. As a role model to generations of young women, she advocated passionately for science education, stood up for racial and gender equality in the classroom, and taught students from every background that there are no limits to what they can accomplish. Ride partnered frequently with Sigma Xi through her "Sally Ride TOYchallenge"; an event that introduces kids to engineering by challenging them to develop an idea for a toy, which was held for two years at the Sigma Xi Headquarters in Research Triangle Park. Ride's family will receive her posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom on her behalf, as she died from complications related to pancreatic cancer on July 23, 2012.


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