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Two MIT profs win DOE's Lawrence Award

Moungi Bawendi
Moungi Bawendi
Arup K. Chakraborty
Arup K. Chakraborty

Two MIT professors are among eight winners of the 2007 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The award, which consists of a gold medal, a citation and an honorarium of $50,000, honors scientists and engineers at mid-career for exceptional contributions in research and development that support the Department of Energy (DOE) and its mission to advance the national, economic and energy security of the United States.

Arup K. Chakraborty, the Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering and a professor of chemistry and biological engineering, won for the life sciences category of the award.

According to the DOE, he "has applied statistical mechanical methods to shed light on the molecular mechanisms that regulate the activation of T lymphocytes that orchestrate the immune response. His ground-breaking theoretical work has had widespread impact on experimental cellular and molecular immunology."

Moungi Bawendi, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, shares the award and honorarium in the materials research category with Paul Alivisatos of the University of California at Berkeley and E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Bawendi "developed a synthesis of semiconductor nanocrystals that was the first to enable precise control of their size and precise determination of their properties. Using the Bawendi synthesis, nanocrystals are now routinely made-to-order," according to the DOE.

In announcing the 2007 winners, Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman (Sc.D. 1965) said: "These brilliant scientists and their varied and important research inspire us. Their work reminds us of the importance of continued investment in science and the need for increased emphasis on basic research and math and science education programs."

The Lawrence Award was established in 1959 to honor the memory of Lawrence, who invented the cyclotron (a particle accelerator), and after whom two major energy department laboratories at Berkeley and Livermore, Calif., are named. The Lawrence Awards, given in seven categories, will be presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Additional information is available on the web at

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 14, 2007 (download PDF).

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