Mailed 2/18/99

Contact: Diane Greenberg (516) 344-2347 or Mona S. Rowe (516) 344-5056



Upton, NY - The White House named Maurice Goldhaber, a distinguished scientist emeritus at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, as one of two winners of the Enrico Fermi Award. He will receive a presidential citation, a gold medal and a $100,000 honorarium at a ceremony on April 16, in Washington, D.C.

The Fermi Award, which dates to 1956, is the government's oldest science and technology award given by the White House and administered by the U.S. Department of Energy. It recognizes a lifetime of outstanding scientific achievement in the field of nuclear energy.

Dr. Goldhaber will receive the award for research in nuclear and particle physics. Dr. Goldhaber's citation reads: "For his lifetime of distinguished research in nuclear and particle physics, including his experiments providing key support for the standard model, and for his superb contribution to science by his leadership and vision as a manager of research."

Also to be honored is Michael E. Phelps, chairman of the Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine for his contributions to the invention and use of positron emission tomography (PET), a medical imaging technique.

"It is a privilege to honor these scientists and their pioneering research," said President Clinton.

One of the world's most distinguished physicists, Dr. Goldhaber, together with James Chadwick, from the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University, was the first to accurately measure the mass of the subatomic particle known as the neutron, in 1934, thus showing that it was not a compound of a proton and an electron as was believed at the time, but a new article. Dr. Goldhaber later pursued a wide variety of research in nuclear physics, and his work was important in supporting the standard model, the modern theory of fundamental particles and forces. In 1958, for example, Dr. Goldhaber and two colleagues, Lee Grodzins and Andrew Sunyar, conducted an elegant experiment that showed that subatomic paritcles called neutrinos have a property called "left-handedness," providing confirmation of part of the standard model. In 1998, Dr. Goldhaber was part of the Super-Kamiokande Collaboration in Japan, which found evidence that neutrinos have mass, a long sought-after finding.

Born in Austria, Dr. Goldhaber earned his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Cambridge in 1936. Two years later, he arrived in the U.S. to join the faculty of the University of Illinois. He came to Brookhaven Lab in 1950, where he became chairman of the Physics Department from 1960-61, and Laboratory Director from 1961-73. During his tenure as Director, Brookhaven Lab experienced an extremely fruitful period of scientific discovery. For research carried out at the Laboratory during Goldhaber's directorship, three Nobel Prizes in high energy physics eventually were garnered by visiting scientists. In the medical area, Brookhaven researchers established the link between sodium in the diet and hypertension in salt-sensitive people, and they developed the drug L-dopa, used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Since his retirement in 1985, Dr. Goldhaber has continued his research at Brookhaven Lab as a distinguished scientist emeritus. He has also been an adjunct professor of physics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook since 1961.

Dr. Goldhaber has received numerous awards during the course of his long and extremely productive career, including the Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics in 1971, the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize in 1982, the National Medal of Science in 1983, and the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1991.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory creates and operates major facilities available to university, industrial and government personnel for basic and applied research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences, and in selected energy technologies. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a not-for-profit research management company, under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.


NOTE TO LOCAL EDITORS: Maurice Goldhaber is a resident of Bayport, NY.