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Brookhaven Lab’s Praveen Chaudhari and Joanna Fowler Elected as Members of the National Academy of Sciences
UPTON, NY - Praveen Chaudhari, the Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Joanna Fowler, a chemist at the Laboratory, have been elected as members of the National Academy of Sciences. They were among 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 11 countries who were elected by the Academy for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The Academy’s total number of active members is 1,922.
Established by the U.S. Congress in 1863, the Academy is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. Upon request, the Academy is an official advisor to the federal government in any matter of science or technology. Election to membership in the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer.
“It is wonderful that Brookhaven Lab has two new members of the Academy,” Chaudhari said. “I am particularly proud of Joanna Fowler’s election. Her groundbreaking work on the biochemistry of the brain struck me as very deserving of national recognition.”
Praveen Chaudhari holds a B.S. from the Indian Institute of Technology, 1961, and both an M.S. and Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963 and 1966, respectively. In 1966, he joined IBM’s Research Division in Yorktown, New York, and had a productive 36-year career with IBM as a scientist and research manager. During his management tenure in the Research Division, from 1981 to 1991, science programs flourished. Materials research, for example, became the basis of the $2-billion a-year optical-disk industry. Chaudhari left IBM to become Director of Brookhaven Lab, effective April 1, 2003.
As a scientist, Chaudhari has worked on the structure and properties of solids, mechanical properties of thin films, defects in solids, quantum transport in disordered systems, superconductivity, liquid crystal alignment on substrates, and on the magnetic monopole experiment. He holds 22 patents, including the patent for the erasable, read-write compact disk technology.
Chaudhari is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Physical Society.
Joanna Fowler has been a major contributor to brain research and the study of diseases such as addiction, which she has investigated using an imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET). In 1976, Fowler and her colleagues synthesized 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), a radiotracer used in PET. Today, FDG is widely used in PET centers around the world to diagnose and study neurological and psychiatric diseases and to diagnose lung and colon cancer.
Fowler commented, “I am delighted and honored both because this membership recognizes Brookhaven’s contributions to the imaging field and also because it calls attention to the special role of chemistry in providing new knowledge that directly impacts on human health.”
Fowler earned a B.A. in chemistry from the University of South Florida in 1963, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Colorado in 1967. After completing postdoctoral appointments at the University of East Anglia, England, and at Brookhaven Lab, she joined the staff of Brookhaven in 1971.
Fowler’s work has garnered numerous honors, including the Jacob Javits Investigator Award in Neurosciences in both 1986 and 1993. The 1986 award was shared with the late Brookhaven Lab chemist Alfred P. Wolf. In 1988, Fowler and Wolf shared the Gustavus John Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest, given by the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society. In 1997, she received the Aebersold Award from the Society of Medicine. In 1998, she was awarded the U.S. Department of Energy’s E.O. Lawrence Award and the Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal, sponsored by the Olin Corporation Charitable Trust and administered by the American Chemical Society, and, in 2002, she was awarded the Glenn T. Seaborg Award from the American Chemical Society. Fowler holds eight patents for radiolabeling procedures.