Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Two Sloan Research Fellows, Sloan Grantee To Receive National Medal of Science

On September 27th, President Obama named seven prominent researchers as recipients of this year's National Medal of Science, the highest honor the U.S. government bestows on scholars in the sciences and engineering.  Among this year's recipients are two former Sloan Research Fellows, chemist Jacqueline Barton from the California Institute of Technology, who received a Sloan Research Fellowship in 1984, and mathematician Srinivasa Varadhan of New York University, who received a Sloan Research Fellowship in 1969.  According to the White House press release, Barton was recognized for "for [the] discovery of a new property of the DNA helix, long-range  electron transfer, and for showing that electron transfer depends upon stacking of the base pairs and DNA dynamics.  Her experiments reveal a strategy for how DNA repair proteins, locate DNA lesions, and demonstrate a biological role for DNA-mediated charge transfer."  Varadhan received the honor "for his work in probability theory, especially his work on large deviations from expected random behavior, which has revolutionized this field of study during the second half of the twentieth century and become a cornerstone of both pure and applied probability.  The mathematical insights he developed have been applied in diverse fields including quantum field theory, population dynamics, finance, econometrics, and traffic engineering."

Also among this year's receipients is Dr. Richard Tapia, an engineering professor at Rice University.  Dr. Tapia is a grantee in the Foundation's Education for Underrepresented Groups program, and has spearheaded Rice's impressive efforts to recruit more students from underrepresented minorities into graduate programs in STEM fields and to support these students throughout their studies.  In addition to his scholarly work on optimization theory and numerical analysis, the White House mentions Dr. Tapia's work fostering diversity as a reason for his selection for the National Medal of Science. 

The Sloan Foundation congratulates Dr. Barton, Dr. Varadhan, and Dr. Tapia for this well-deserved recognition and is proud to have had the opportunity to support the important work of such high caliber scholars.