National Medal of Science

The National Medal of Science is the nation’s highest scientific honor. The award, established by Congress in 1959 and bestowed by the President, initially recognized outstanding contributions in the physical, biological, mathematical or engineering sciences. In 1980, Congress expanded the award to include the social and behavioral sciences.

Robert Clayton

Enrico Fermi Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Chemistry and Geophysical Sciences and the College

National Medal of Science for Physical Sciences, 2004
“For his leading contributions to cosmic chemistry, from pre-solar system dust to planets, and for being an exemplary role model as a mentor, teacher, and advocate for rigorous science.”

Robert Clayton

Gary S. Becker (1930–2014)

University Professor in Economics and Sociology; Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 1992; Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2007

National Medal of Science for Behavioral & Social Science, 2000
“For his pioneering the economic analysis of racial discrimination, inventing the economics of human resources, producing the major modern innovations in economic demography and in economic criminology, and leading recent developments in how social forces shape individual economic behavior.”

Gary Becker

Felix Browder

Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Mathematics (now at Rutgers University)

National Medal of Science for Mathematics & Computer Science, 1999
“For his pioneering work in nonlinear functional analysis and its applications to partial differential equations, and for leadership in the scientific community.”

Felix Browder

Stuart Rice

Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor in Chemistry and the James Franck Institute

National Medal of Science for Chemistry, 1999
“For changing the very nature of modern physical chemistry through his research, teaching, and writing, using imaginative approaches to both experiment and theory that have inspired a new generation of scientists.”

Stuart Rice

Leo Kadanoff

John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor in Physics, Mathematics, the James Franck Institute and the Enrico Fermi Institute

National Medal of Science for Physical Sciences, 1999
“For fundamental theoretical research in the areas of statistical, solid state, and nonlinear physics and, in particular, for the development of scaling techniques in these fields.”

Leo Kadanoff

James Cronin

Professor Emeritus in Physics, Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Enrico Fermi Institute; Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1980

National Medal of Science for Physical Sciences, 1999
“For his fundamental contributions to the fields of elementary particle physics and astrophysics and his leadership in creating an international effort to determine the unknown origins of very high-energy cosmic rays.”

James Cronin

Janet Davison Rowley (1925–2013)

Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor in Medicine, Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology and Human Genetics

National Medal of Science for Biological Sciences, 1998
“For revolutionizing cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment through her discovery of chromosomal translocations in cancer and her pioneering work on the relationship of prior treatment to recurring chromosome abnormalities, for epitomizing the "bench to bedside" philosophy in her application of basic discoveries to clinical medicine, and for her leadership nationally and internationally in the oncology and biomedical communities.”

Janet Davison Rowley

Alberto Calderón (1920–1998)

Professor in Mathematics

National Medal of Science for Mathematics & Computer Science, 1991
For his ground-breaking work on singular integral operators leading to their application to important problems in partial differential equations, including his proof of uniqueness in the Cauchy problem, the Atiyah-Singer index theorem, and the propagation of singularities of non-linear equations.


Milton Friedman (1912–2006)

Paul Snowden Distinguished Service Professor in Economics; Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 1982

National Medal of Science for Behavioral & Social Science, 1989
“For his theoretical contributions, and for application, of the principles of scientific empirical and statistical methods to the field of economics and the social sciences, and to problems critical to the Nation in general.”

Milton Friedman

Eugene Parker

S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Physics, Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Enrico Fermi Institute

National Medal of Science for Physical Sciences, 1989
“For his fundamental studies of plasmas, magnetic fields, and energetic particles on all astrophysical scales; for his development of the concept of solar and stellar winds; and for his studies on the effects of magnetic fields on the solar atmosphere.”

Eugene Parker

Saunders Mac Lane (1909–2005)

Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Mathematics

National Medal of Science for Mathematics & Computer Science, 1989
“For revolutionizing the language and content of modern mathematics by his collaboration in the creation and development of the fields of homological algebra and category theory, for outstanding contributions to mathematics education, and for incisive leadership of the mathematical and scientific communities.”

Saunders Mac Lane

George Stigler (1911–1991)

Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor in Economics; Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 1982

National Medal of Science for Behavioral & Social Science, 1987
“For his efforts to advance the understanding of industry, its internal organization and relation to government, and for initiating the study of information and markets.”

George Stigler

Antoni Zygmund (1900–1992)

Gustavus F. and Anne M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in Mathematics

National Medal of Science for Mathematics & Computer Science, 1986
“For outstanding contributions to Fourier analysis and its applications to partial differential equations and other branches of analysis, and for his creation and leadership of the strongest school of analytical research in the contemporary mathematical world.”


Yoichiro Nambu

Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Physics and the Enrico Fermi Institute

National Medal of Science for Physical Sciences, 1982
“For seminal contributions to the understanding of elementary particles and their interactions.”

Yoichiro Nambu

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910–1995)

Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor in Physics and Astronomy & Astrophysics; Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1983

National Medal of Science for Physical Sciences, 1966
“For numerous superb contributions to stellar astronomy, physics, and applied mathematics, and for his guidance and inspiration to his many students and colleagues.”

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar