The National Academy of Sciences announced yesterday the election of Fermilab Director Pier Oddone as a member. This is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States.
Oddone was elected along with 71 scientists and engineers to join the company of more than 2,000 active NAS members. Among the NAS’s renowned members are Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright and Alexander Graham Bell. More than 180 living Academy members have won Nobel Prizes.
Votes were cast by Academy members early Tuesday morning at the NAS annual meeting. After the final decisions were made, Mike Witherell, NAS member and former Fermilab director, immediately called Oddone to surprise him with the news.
“It’s really a great honor to become part of such a distinguished group of scientists,” Oddone said. “Research in particle physics is a team effort and I owe much to my many collaborators through the years.”
Oddone was elected on the basis of his many contributions to the field of particle physics, Witherell said.
“The capstone achievement was the invention of the asymmetric B-factory idea, for which he won the W.K.H. Panofsky Prize in experimental particle physics in 2005,” Witherell said.
Oddone will now join the group of distinguished scientists that is responsible for advising the government on issues pertaining to science and technology.
“Whenever someone in particle physics is elected to the Academy, it gives broader visibility to both their accomplishments and our field,” said Mel Shochet, University of Chicago scientist, CDF collaborator and chair of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel.
“I’m personally very pleased. It’s a wonderful recognition of the important contribution that Pier has made to science,” Shochet added.
Fermilab Deputy Director Young-Kee Kim said Oddone’s election to the Academy is an important milestone for Fermilab.
“We are very proud of Pier for this achievement,” Kim said. “We know he will be an important contributor to the National Academy and serve as an excellent representative for high-energy particle physics.”
Oddone will be inducted into the Academy next April during its 149th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
“It’s a good day for particle physics, for Fermilab and for Pier as well,” Witherell said.
The press release issued by the National Academy of Sciences, which includes a list of all 72 newly elected members, can be viewed online.
— Christine Herman