Gerald T. Fraser, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and resident of Montgomery Village, Md., today received the Arthur S. Flemming Award, which recognizes exceptional young employees within the federal government.
A graduate of Harvard University (Ph.D. 1985) and Loyola University of Chicago (B.S. 1979), Fraser worked in the Molecular Physics Division for 11 years and has continued his spectroscopic research in the Optical Technology Division after a divisional merger three years ago. A top scientist at NIST, he is an internationally known molecular physicist and leader of a new program using terahertz spectroscopy to determine the link between structure and function of complex biological molecules.
Fraser has authored more than 100 papers in scientific journals, some of which are cited frequently by other researchers. His work is of great interest to molecular biologists and computational chemists who are trying to model extremely complex molecular processes that are the basis for important chemical reactions, ozone-epleting atmospheric processes and biochemical functions.
Early in his career, Fraser developed a measurement technique called electric resonance optothermal spectroscopy, or EROS, which greatly improved the sensitivity of molecular beam spectroscopy. The technique is now used worldwide. He then used the EROS technique to understand the complex rotations of a weak bond between two water molecules. Scientists had been perplexed by the spectra they observed from this weak bond for years. Fraser's work on this problem is still used today as a benchmark for both theoretical and experimental studies involving different molecular systems.
The Flemming Awards will be presented following a black-tie dinner at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Thursday, June 10. The Flemming Award, launched by the Downtown Jaycees in 1948 and now sponsored by George Washington University, honors young federal employees who have made exceptional contributions to America. The award is named for Arthur Sherwood Flemming, whose exemplary career spanned seven decades of service to the federal government and higher education.
As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.