When it comes to the United States honoring scientists and engineers for significant achievements in their field, there is no higher honor than the National Medal of Science. The fact that two University of Texas professors were recently awarded the Medal is not only an honor for John Goodenough and Allen Bard, but also for the school itself. Bard is the Hackerman-Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry at UT, while Goodenough — who is clearly lives up to his namesake — is the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering at the university. In a special ceremony held on February 1st at the White House in Washington, D.C., both men were awarded their medals by President Obama himself.
Goodenough, 90, studied at the University of Chicago following his return from serving in the armed forces during World War II. Goodenough would go on to MIT and Oxford, and was both a physicist and chemist before being recruited for the Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering spot in 1986. One of Goodenough’s biggest achievements is developing the battery that has made widespread cell phone use a reality.
Bard, meanwhile, studied at institutions like Harvard before being hired at UT in 1958. The 79-year-old told Alcade that he always knew he wanted to be a scientist. “I’ve always loved it,” Bard declares. And despite not seeking out awards, the scientist explains that “UT depends on the recognition of its faculty.”
For his part, Goodenough tells the paper how much he has enjoyed his time at UT: “I have found The University of Texas provides a wonderful culture in which to continue my work.” As for those who he’s worked with, past and present? “Nobody does anything alone. I accept the honor on their behalf.”