The American Philosophical Society presented Phillip Sharp, the Salvador E. Luria Professor and head of the Department of Biology, with the 1999 Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences. The award cites Professor Sharp for "his work on the biology of tumor viruses which led to his discovery that genes contain nonsense segments that are edited out by cells in the course of utilizing genetic information. This landmark achievement, known as RNA splicing, altered the course of molecular biology." Professor Sharp shared the 1993 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for that research.
The Benjamin Franklin Medal has been awarded every year since 1906. The American Philosophical Society was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743. George Washington was a member of the society, as were John Adams, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.
John B. Heywood, the Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Sloan Automotive Laboratory, is the 1999 winner of the Soichiro Honda Medal. The award is presented by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for outstanding achievement in improving the field of personal transportation. Professor Heywood was cited for his "pioneering research contributions in the field of internal combustion engines, particularly emissions control, and distinguished leadership at the largest university-based automotive laboratory in the United States.
Frederick Crowley, assistant controller, was named the "Payroll Man of the Year" by the American Payroll Association (APA) at its annual congress last month. The award was in recognition of his outstanding contributions and dedication to the advancement of the payroll profession and the APA. Mr. Crowley has been a member of the APA's government affairs task force for seven years. In this role, he meets annually with the Internal Revenue Service in Washington to present his recommendations regarding changes in regulations, tax forms and publications, with an emphasis on students and nonresident aliens. Mr. Crowley, who has worked at MIT for 31 years, also has been a frequent speaker at the APA's educational conferences that target college and university issues.
Institute Professor Sheila Widnall, the Abby Rockefeller Mauzï¿½ Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has been voted as the president-elect of the board of directors of the American Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the principal professional society devoted to the progress of engineering and science for aviation and space. She will hold that position until May 2000, when she will become president of the organization for a one-year term.
A version of this article appeared in the July 14, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 44, Number 1).