UT professors Bard and Goodenough receive National Medal of Science

Blake Carter

Two UT professors will be recognized by the White House for their contributions to science.

President Barack Obama named Allen Bard, chemistry professor and director of the Center for Electrochemistry, and engineering professor John Goodenough recipients of the 2012 National Medal of Science.

The government-bestowed honor is administered by the National Science Foundation and recognizes U.S. scientists, engineers and inventors. Bard and Goodenough will join 10 other scientists in a ceremony later this year.

Mayra Montrose, a science policy analyst at the Office of Integrative Activities of the National Science Foundation, said the foundation’s committee receives nominations from many sources, spends two months reviewing and picks the best candidates.

“They were nominated because they are the cream of the crop in their fields,” Montrose said. “Both Dr. Bard and Dr. Goodenough were deemed excellent and meritorious of this award. Both have made a huge impact not only in the fields of science and technology, but also within the nation’s economy.”

Goodenough came to the University in 1986. He earned a doctorate in physics in 1952 from the University of Chicago and spent 24 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory as a research scientist and group leader. He also served as a professor at Oxford University in 1976.

Goodenough’s research looked into various energy materials, including lithium-ion batteries. His developments with the battery allowed for the advancement of wireless technologies.

“The relationship between chance and grace is a mystery,” Goodenough said. “You have to listen to your inner voice and find your calling. The only way to find meaning in life is through service, but you have to know what to serve.”

Bard will receive the award for contributions to electrochemistry. He joined UT 55 years ago after completing his doctorate at Harvard and developed the technique for scanning electrochemical microscopy, which is used to visualize chemical reactions.

Brent Iverson, chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said Bard has made a huge impact on the University.

“[Bard] is an excellent teacher who has trained multiple generations through UT-Austin and through his co-authored textbook. That’s impact,” Iverson said. “He focuses on things that have never been understood before, and when he sees that opportunity, he takes that new knowledge and does something important and practical, and that’s really rare and extraordinary. I think that is why he is being recognized by the president.”

Published on January 16, 2013 as "UT professors awarded National Medal of Science".