Obama to present National Medal of Science to three Berkeley faculty

ATTENTION: Reporters, producers covering higher education and science

WHAT: President Barack Obama will present the National Medals of Science and National Medals of Technology & Innovation to 19 people, including three University of California, Berkeley, faculty members who have made significant contributions in the fields of chemistry and mathematics.

The awards are the nation’s highest honors for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology.

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 20, at 8:30 a.m. PST (11:30 a.m. EST).

WHERE: East Room of the White House, with live streaming of the ceremony via www.whitehouse.gov/live. For broadcast purposes, this event will be carried live via satellite. Downlink coordinates can be requested by emailing media_affairs@who.eop.gov.

WHO: President Obama will formally honor the medal recipients who were announced by the White House on Oct. 3. Among these are three UC Berkeley professors: Judith Klinman, professor emerita of chemistry; Alexandre Chorin, University Professor emeritus of mathematics; and the late David Blackwell, a statistician who died in 2010.

DETAILS: Klinman, Chorin and Blackwell are among 10 science medalists chosen this year and nine recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Klinman is an expert on enzyme catalysis, often using isotope tracers to uncover the chemical steps involved in protein activity in the body. Chorin, who also is a Senior Faculty Scientist in the Mathematics Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, introduced powerful new computational methods for the solution of problems in fluid mechanics, covering the spectrum from practical software to rigorous error bounds.

Blackwell, the first black admitted to the National Academy of Sciences and the first tenured black professor in UC Berkeley history, was a mathematician and statistician who contributed to numerous fields, including probability theory, game theory and information theory.