Two MIT alumni-Robert M. White and Perry L. McCarty-will share the $150,000 1992 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the leading international prize for environmental science and leadership.
Dr. White, the first administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 1970-77, was cited "for his leadership in designing and building the machinery through which society observes and understands global climate change." After obtaining a BA degree in geology from Harvard University, he received the SM and ScD in meteorology from MIT, in 1949 and 1950, respectively.
The prize committee said Dr. White perceived, long before his contemporaries, the essential unity of the global environment and the need for unified institutional approaches.
Dr. McCarty, currently the Silas H. Palmer Professor of Civil Engineering at Stanford University, won the prize "for being the world's leading environmental engineer working to protect the Earth's water resources." After earning a BS in civil engineering at Wayne State University, he received the SM and PhD in sanitary engineering from MIT, in 1957 and 1959, respectively.
The committee described Dr. McCarty as one of the most broadly knowledgeable environmental engineers in the world regarding biological processes in the aquatic environment. It said his unified theory for biological treatment is widely used as the basis for the design and operation of waste treatment.
The winners were selected from more than 200 candidates by an 11-member committee drawn from the American academic and corporate communities. Mrs. Alice C. Tyler provides funding for the prize, first presented in 1974 and administered by the University of Southern California. The recipients are the 30th and 31st Tyler laureates.
A version of this article appeared in the May 6, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 36, Number 29).