Two researchers at
the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are among 12 federal employees being
honored today* as recipients of the 2013 Arthur S. Flemming Awards.
The Flemming Awards were
established in 1948 by the Washington, D.C., Downtown Jaycees in honor
of Arthur Flemming's commitment to public service throughout the seven decades
of his distinguished career. The awards recognize exceptional young federal employees
in five categories: leadership and management; legal achievement; social science,
clinical trials and translational research; applied science and engineering;
and basic science.
The two NIST researchers honored this year, with their award
Physicist Thomas Perkins is one of two NIST winners of the 2013 Arthur S. Flemming Awards.
Dr. Thomas T. Perkins, of NIST's Physical Measurement Laboratory:
For creating unprecedented new ways, as a
physicist, to precisely measure and manipulate the key molecules of life (DNA,
RNA, proteins) under real world biological conditions for the first time,
through innovative, multidisciplinary programs combining atomic force
microscopy (AFM), laser physics, molecular biology, and advanced electronics.
Dr. Perkins' leadership has led to the invention of new AFM systems 100 times
more stable and sensitive than the previous world's best. He achieved this
remarkable improvement in the wet, warm environment needed to measure the
molecules of life under natural conditions, rather than in a vacuum near
absolute zero required by previous AFMs. Dr. Perkins' work has revealed new
details about the structure and function of DNA, RNA, and proteins in natural
environments for the first time, providing knowledge to engineer more effective
medical diagnostics and treatments. He leads partnerships with industry to
transfer advanced AFM and related technologies to develop new research and
measurement tools for molecular biology. Mindful of the future, he mentors and
trains the next generation of young scientists to pioneer new research and
measurement technologies working in industry, universities, and national
Dr. Emanuel H. Knill, of NIST's Information Technology Laboratory
For his remarkable
accomplishments as a NIST Fellow in the Applied and Computational Mathematics
Division of the Information Technology Laboratory. Dr. Emanuel Knill is one of
the world's leading theorists in the field of quantum information science and
engineering. An emerging discipline at the intersection of physics and computer
science, quantum information is likely to revolutionize science and technology
in the same way that lasers, electronics, and computers did in the 20th
century. Dr. Knill has developed some of the essential mathematical foundations
for exploring the unique rules of quantum mechanics which govern atomic-scale
systems to enable the development of novel computing devices with phenomenal
increases in information storage and processing capability. His groundbreaking
research in the theory of quantum optics, quantum error correction, quantum
state tomography, quantum computer benchmarking, and quantum algorithms is
providing essential guidance to the experimental physics community as it works
to create a new age of quantum engineering.
The Arthur S. Flemming Awards are administered by The Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and
Public Administration at The George Washington University. The full list
of the 2013 Flemming award winners is at http://tspppa.gwu.edu/award-recipients.
*Originally published on June 9, 2014.