Two Professors to Receive National Medal of Science

Two professors from The University of Texas at Austin will be honored by President Barack Obama with the National Medal of Science. Allen Bard, in the College of Natural Sciences, and John Goodenough, in the Cockrell School of Engineering, are two of 12 eminent researchers who will receive the medal this year, bringing the university's overall total to five since 1962.

The National Medal of Science is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government upon scientists, engineers and inventors. Obama announced the award recipients Dec. 21.

"I am proud to honor these inspiring innovators," Obama said. "They represent the ingenuity and imagination that has long made this nation great and they remind us of the enormous impact a few good ideas can have when these creative qualities are unleashed in an entrepreneurial environment."

Bard, the Norman Hackerman-Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry and director of the Center for Electrochemistry, has been called the "father of modern electrochemistry" by his colleagues. His pioneering work in electrochemistry led to the development of the scanning electrochemical microscope (SECM), which is used as an analytical tool in chemistry labs around the world to discover new materials for technologies such as solar cells and batteries, and to investigate the inner workings of biological cells.

Goodenough holds the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering and is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has made lasting contributions to materials science and technology, and he is best known for developing materials critical to the development of lightweight and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that have enabled the wireless revolution.

Bard and Goodenough will receive their awards at a White House ceremony in early 2013.

The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation. Awarded annually, the medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. A committee of presidential appointees selects nominees on the basis of their extraordinary knowledge in and contributions to chemistry, engineering, computing, mathematics, or the biological, behavioral/social and physical sciences.