This month at a ceremony in Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute is bestowing the Franklin Medals and Bower Awards for 2002 on eight researchers for their achievements in science and technology. Six of the laureates do physics-related work.

The Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry is going to Norman L. Allinger, who directs the Computational Center for Molecular Structure and Design at the University of Georgia in Athens. He is being honored for his “pioneering work in computational chemistry [and] his seminal contributions to the development of molecular mechanics series of force fields, their widespread application to the fundamental understanding of molecular structure and energetics, and their implementation as a significant tool to practicing chemists.”

Alexandra Navrotsky, Edward Roessler Chair in Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Interdisciplinary Professor of Ceramic, Earth, and Environmental Materials Chemistry at the University of California, Davis, will be receiving the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth Science. The institute is acknowledging her “wide spectrum of accomplishments in crystal chemistry that have importantly contributed to the fields of bonding energies, ceramic and materials research, chemical equilibria, geology, mantle petrology, and thermodynamics.” The citation adds that her findings “have established, convincingly, the identity of materials at hundreds of kilometers of depth in the Earth that otherwise are inaccessible to direct observation.”

The Benjamin Franklin Medal in Engineering is being presented to Shuji Nakamura, a professor in the materials department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is being cited for his “fundamental contributions to the optoelectronic technology of gallium nitride, which culminated in the development of violet/blue laser diodes and the implementation of high brightness light emitting diodes. These devices improve today’s technology and have the potential of revolutionizing the lighting industry.”

Sumio Iijima is being given the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics for his “discovery and elucidation of the atomic structure and helical character of multi-wall and single-wall carbon nanotubes, which have had an enormous impact on the rapidly growing condensed matter and materials science field of nanoscale science and electronics.” Iijima is a special research fellow with the NEC Corp in Tsukuba, Japan, and a professor in the department of materials science and engineering at Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan.

The Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science, which comes with a $250 000 cash prize, is being presented to John W. Cahn, a senior fellow at NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He is being honored for his “profound contributions to the understanding of the thermodynamics and kinetics of phase transformations. His lifelong dedication to understanding materials has inspired generations of scientists and engineers to develop new materials based on his groundbreaking theories.”

Gordon E. Moore will receive the Bower Award for Business Leadership for his “pioneering role and continuing contributions to the semiconductor industry and for his generous commitment to community service. Moore’s technical and entrepreneurial leadership … has been characterized by continuous innovation that [has] resulted in enhanced microprocessor speed, miniaturization, and reduced cost, which have transformed the modern world.” Moore is the chairman emeritus and cofounder of the Intel Corp, located in Santa Clara, California.