The President announced today that Freeman J. Dyson and Liane B. Russell are winners of the Enrico Fermi Award. The presidential award, carrying a $100,000 honorarium and a gold medal, is the government's oldest science and technology award. It is given for a lifetime of achievement in the field of nuclear energy.
Dyson, a physicist, is Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ. Russell, a geneticist, is Senior Corporate Fellow at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Dyson, 70, will receive the award "for his contributions to fundamental scientific knowledge in fields as diverse as physics, biology, astronomy and mathematics; for his courageous questioning of the risks and benefits of science and technology; and for his wonderful articles and books that describe to the public how a scientist looks at the world." Dyson was born in Crowthorne, Berkshire, England. Dyson earned his B.A. in mathematics at the University of Cambridge. His graduate studies were at Trinity College, Cambridge, and Cornell University. He became a U.S. citizen in 1957. He has been at the Institute for Advanced Study since 1953.
Russell, 71, will receive the award "for her outstanding contributions to genetics and radiation biology, including her discovery of the chromosomal basis for sex determination in mammals and her contributions to our knowledge of the effects of radiation on the developing embryo and fetus. Her findings have been the benchmark for the study of mutations in mammals and genetic risk assessment worldwide."
Russell was born in Vienna, Austria. She became a U.S. citizen in 1946. She earned her B.A. from Hunter College in New York City and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. In 1947 she moved to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The President approved the awards upon the recommendation of Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary after evaluation of candidates by a screening panel and an interagency awards committee. The Department of Energy administers the Fermi Award for the White House. Secretary O'Leary will present the awards in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. at a date to be announced.
The Fermi Award, which dates to 1956, honors the memory of Enrico Fermi, leader of the group of scientists who on December 2, 1942, achieved the first self-sustained, controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago. Past recipients of the Award include: Glenn Seaborg, Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, Adm. H. G. Rickover, John Wheeler, Luis Alvarez and William Russell, the husband of Liane Russell. The award was most recently given in 1993 to Harold Brown, John Foster, Jr. and Leon Lederman.
Additional information on the winners is available from the Department of Energy Press Office at (202) 586-5806.