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President Bush names Rutgers' Evelyn Witkin for nations highest science honor

NOTE:This release has been updated on 4 November.

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- President George W. Bush today named Evelyn M. Witkin, Barbara McClintock Professor Emerita at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, a recipient of the 2002 National Medal of Science, the nation's highest science and engineering honor.

Witkin, a Princeton resident, is one of eight honorees selected and the 30th woman to receive the medal, which will be presented at a White House ceremony Nov. 6.

"The ideas and breakthroughs in fundamental science and engineering by these extraordinary pioneers have influenced thousands of other researchers," said Rita Colwell, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). "We now see the daily evidence of the tremendous advancements in technological capabilities, human health and vast new knowledge within our physical world due to these heroes of science we celebrate today," Colwell said.

The National Medal of Science, established by the 86th Congress in 1959 and administered by the NSF, honors the impact of individuals on the present state of knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, engineering, social and behavioral sciences. Not including the 2002 recipients, the medal has been awarded to 409 distinguished scientists and engineers, including three previous Rutgers winners.

"The National Medal of Science recognizes the tremendous contributions Evelyn Witkin has made to biological research," said Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick. "It is a mark of personal accomplishment and distinction. Rutgers, her home for two decades, is immensely proud of her achievements."

Witkin was largely responsible for creating the field of DNA mutagenesis and DNA repair, which focuses on how mutations, most of which are unhealthy, occur in DNA and how they may be corrected. Her work, which furthered our understanding of the genetic response to harmful environmental factors such a
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Contact: Joseph Blumberg
blumberg@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x652
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
22-Oct-2003


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