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Presidential medal for technological breakthroughs earned by 2 chemical engineering professors
Date:8/27/2008

Two chemical engineering professors from The University of Texas at Austin have been recognized by President George W. Bush as 2007 National Medal of Technology and Innovation laureates, the nation's highest honor for technological achievement.

In a rare recognition of two honorees from the same institution for separate discoveries, Professors Adam Heller and Grant Willson were among eight national recipients announced this week.

"It's sort of the American Nobel Prize," says Richard Maulsby, spokesman for the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which administers the Medal program.

Heller was cited "for his contributions to electrochemistry and bioelectrochemistry which led to the development of products that have improved the quality of life of millions, particularly in the area of human health and well-being." Heller's work enabled the creation of the painless glucose monitor for diabetics.

Willson, who holds the Rashid Engineering Regents Chair at the Cockrell School of Engineering, was cited "for creating lithographic imaging materials and techniques that have enabled the manufacturing of smaller, faster and more efficient micro-electronic components."

"With unprecedented consistency and creativity, these two engineers have spent careers continually besting their own breakthroughs," says Ben Streetman, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. "Their pioneering ability to link disciplines taught a new generation of researchers the value of reaching outside of their knowledge base to solve problems. It has been a great privilege of my career to witness their simultaneous contribution to research, education and society."

Roger Bonnecaze, Chemical Engineering Department chairman, says the dual recognition is a monumental achievement for the Cockrell School of Engineering and the department.

"To have two winners from the same department, let alone the same university is exceptional," he sa
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Contact: Roger Bonnecaze
rtb@che.utexas.edu
512-471-1497
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert

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