President Bush Awards Georgia Tech Professor with National Medal of Technology

President Bush yesterday awarded the highest honors he can bestow in science and technology to 16 individuals, including Georgia Tech Professor Russell Dupuis, who holds the Steve W. Chaddick Endowed Chair in Electro-Optics and is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar.

"The medals we confer today are a way of expressing our own gratitude to some of the most gifted and visionary men and women in America," Bush said in handing out the 2002 National Medals of Science and National Medals of Technology at a White House ceremony. "They have freely accepted the toil of overcoming challenges. They have put their considerable gifts to good purpose. Their fellow Americans are grateful to them, all humanity is in your debt."

Dupuis, a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and two colleagues were among those who received the 2002 National Medal of Technology. The team was selected for their work to develop and commercialize light emitting diodes, commonly called LEDs - a technology that forms the numbers on digital clocks, transmits information from remote controls and lights up watches.

Also during the White House ceremony, Georgia Tech physics alumnus, W. Jason Morgan, now on faculty at Princeton University, received the 2002 National Medal of Science for his theories that describe how land masses move, how volcanoes are formed and how many features of the land and sea take shape. The award recognizes Morgan for his work in pioneering two fundamental ideas - plate tectonics and mantle plumes.

Before Bush placed the medals, hung on red, white and blue ribbons, around each honoree's neck in an East Room ceremony, the winners met with students from a local high school to help develop their interest in science, according to the Associated Press. "Thank you for not only being scholars and pioneers, but teachers, as well," Bush told the award recipients.

The medals are the nation's highest honor for work in science and technology and are bestowed to America's leading innovators. The medals are given annually to individuals, teams, or companies.

Dupuis' team was selected for "contributions to the development and commercialization of light-emitting diode technology, with applications to digital displays, consumer electronics, automotive lighting, traffic signals and general illumination."

"I'm happy to be a part of the history of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and this Medal is a wonderful recognition of that contibution," says Dupuis. "It has been interesting to teach graduate students about this technology that I perfected in the 1970s, then have them go out and discover and learn new applications and new ways to improve these important materials."

In August, Dupuis moved his Advanced Materials and Devices Group from the University of Texas at Austin to Georgia Tech where they continue to focus on developing new semiconductor materials, primarily to make light emitters more efficient so that every watt of electrical energy going into the semiconductor becomes light at 100 percent efficiency.

LEDs, small electronic devices made from semiconductor materials, are the world's most efficient light source being mass-produced today. They are seen more and more in automotive taillights and traffic signals. The energy savings of replacing traditional traffic signals with LED versions pays off in about twelve months or less, according to Dupuis.

His work resulted in the first demonstration of low-threshold, room-temperature operation of single-and multiple-quantum-well lasers grown by any materials technology, thus firmly establishing the MOCVD process as a materials technology for the growth of the next generation of compound semiconductor devices. Most of the lasers today, as seen in grocery store scanners and in CD and DVD players, are made using the MOCVD process, which Dupuis perfected.

The National Medal of Science winners were: James E. Darnell Jr., Rockefeller University, New York, N.Y.; Evelyn M. Witkin, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.; John I. Brauman, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.; Leo L. Beranek, BBN Technologies, Cambridge, Mass.; James G. Glimm, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, N.Y.; Richard L. Garwin, Council on Foreign Relations, New York, N.Y.; W. Jason Morgan, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.; and Edward Witten, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J.
The National Medal of Technology winners were: Calvin H. Carter Jr., Cree Inc., Durham, N.C.; Haren S. Gandhi, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Mich.; Carver A. Mead, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.; John J. Mooney and Carl D. Keith of the Engelhard Corporation, Iselin, N.J.; Nicholas Holonyak Jr., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, Ill.; M. George Craford, LumiLeds Lighting, San Jose, Calif.; Russell Dupuis, Georgia Tech.; and DuPont Co., Wilmington, Del.