Assistant Professor Erik Demaine of electrical engineering and computer science won a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Doctoral Prize. The University of Waterloo graduate's doctoral thesis solved what is known as the Carpenter's Rule Problem in the mathematics of folding. Understanding the possibilities and limits of folding and unfolding in general is important to a wide range of applications, from sheet metal fabrication to airbag storage and bioinformatics, where the math is used to understand and perhaps predict how proteins fold.
New York University School of Medicine's Biotechnology Study Center awarded Alexander Rich, the William Thompson Sedgwick Professor of Biophysics, a 2003 Biotechnology Achievement Award for his pioneering work in molecular biology, structural work on Z-DNA and RNA editing. Eugene Bell, professor emeritus of biology, was honored for his work in applied biotechnology.
Amgen Professor of Biology Nancy Hopkins was awarded the UCSF Medal, presented annually since 1975 by the University of California at San Francisco in lieu of honorary degrees. It recognizes individuals who have made "outstanding personal contributions in areas associated with the University's health science mission." Hopkins was cited for her work in developmental biology and for her leadership role in addressing and correcting gender inequity and discrimination against women scientists.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 30, 2003.