Science: Dr. Davis
George W. Bush announced last week that Dr. Raymond Davis Jr.,
research professor of physics and astronomy, is among 15 recipients
of the 2001 National Medal of Science.
scientists have now received the National Medal of Science two
years in a row; chemist Dr. Ralph F. Hirschmann was a recipient
of the 2000 Medal (Almanac
November 21, 2000).
Davis conceived, built and ran the first experiment to detect
neutrinos from the core of the sun, giving rise to the field of
neutrino physics. Using chlorine detectors in the 1960s, he found
only one-third the number of neutrinos predicted by the accepted
solar model, a result that has been confirmed by later experiments
including the Kamiokande and Sudbury Neutrino Observatory collaborations
in which Penn has played a major part.
Davis joined Penn in 1985 as a research professor after a 37-year
career at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He is a member of the
National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts
Davis has won numerous awards including the Wolf Foundation prize
in physics for 2000; the $100,000 prize was awarded for "pioneering
observations of astronomical phenomena by detection of neutrinos,
which was instrumental in creating the emerging field of neutrino
January 25, 2000). When he was awarded an honorary doctor
of science from Penn in 1990 (Almanac April 24, 1990) he
was described as "the father of neutrino research."
Judith Rodin said, "Dr. Davis is a pioneering scientist whose
extraordinary research in physics has earned him the nation's
highest award for lifetime achievement in science. Dr. Davis'
impressive career has led other scientists to understand the ability
of neutrinos to change into other neutrino forms. Our sincere
congratulations go to a man who has again honored Penn."
National Medal of Science honors pioneering scientific research
that has enhanced our basic understanding of life and the world
around us. The NSF administers the award established by Congress
in 1959. Including the latest laureates, the honor has been conferred
on 401 distinguished scientists and engineers, six from Penn.
The first was Dr. Britton Chance, 1974, followed by Dr. Paul Gyorgy,
1975, Dr. Mildred Cohn, 1982, Dr. Robert L. Schrieffer, 1983 and,
Dr. Ralph Hirschmann 2000.