Our colleagues at the U.S. Department of Energy recently announced a call for nominations for the 2010 Enrico Fermi Award. This Presidential Award is the oldest science and technology award given by the U.S. government and one of the most prestigious.
The Fermi Award is bestowed by the President upon an individual or individuals of international stature in recognition of exceptional scientific, technical, engineering, and/or management achievements related to the broad missions of the U.S. Department of Energy and its programs. Nominations are made via an electronic submission process at http://www.orau.gov/fermi. The deadline for submitting nominations is 11 p.m. EDT on June 15, 2010.
The award has a rich history. It started when President Eisenhower and the Atomic Energy Commission honored Enrico Fermi with a special award for his lifetime of accomplishments in physics and, in particular, for the development of atomic energy. That award was bestowed on November 16, 1954, just 12 days before the Italian-born naturalized American citizen and winner of the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics died of cancer at the age of 53. The Enrico Fermi Presidential Award was established in 1956 as a memorial to Fermi, who achieved the first nuclear chain reaction—and thereby initiated the atomic age—on December 2, 1942, in a squash court under the stands of the University of Chicago's football stadium. The first Fermi Award recipients included physicists John von Neumann, Ernest 0. Lawrence, Hans Bethe, and Edward Teller.
The Enrico Fermi Award is given to encourage excellence in energy science, and technology research; to show appreciation to scientists, engineers, and science policymakers who have given unstintingly over their lifetimes to benefit mankind through energy science and technology; and to inspire people of all ages through the example of Enrico Fermi himself—whose achievements opened new scientific and technological realms—and the Fermi Award laureates, who have continued in his tradition. The Fermi Award is administered on behalf of the White House by the Department of Energy's Office of Science.
Fermi Award winners receive citations signed by the President of the United States and the Secretary of Energy, a gold medal bearing the likeness of Enrico Fermi, and a $375,000 honorarium. In the event the Award is given to more than one individual in the same year, the recipients share the honorarium.
For more information about the Enrico Fermi Award, visit: http://www.science.doe.gov/fermi/index.htm.
For a complete list of recipients, visit: http://www.science.doe.gov/fermi/html/Award.htm.