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07/19/1996 07:00:00

Biologist Receives Science Prize of LVMH—Moet Hennessy·Louis Vuitton

PASADENA—Caltech biologist Elliot Meyerowitz and Enrico Coen of the John Innes Institute in England shared the 1996 "Science pour l'Art" Science Prize of LVMH—Moët Hennessy/Louis Vuitton at a ceremony in Paris, France, on July 9. As part of the prize, Meyerowitz and Coen shared an award of 100,000 French francs, or about 19,000 U.S. dollars.

The "Science pour l'Art" Science Prize of LVMH is an international award given annually to one or more scientists for work related to "professions with an artistic or aesthetic vocation." In practice, this means the award usually goes to scientists working in chemistry, physicochemistry, biology, neuroscience, mathematical modeling, imagery, or artificial intelligence.

Both Coen and Meyerowitz, a professor of biology at Caltech, study the genetics of flowering plants. Specifically, Meyerowitz is interested in the genes that control the formation of flowers, and how altering these genes will affect flower development. He has identified mutations that cause petal cells to develop into stamens instead, and another mutation that causes these same embryonic petals to become sepals.

Meyerowitz earned his bachelor's degree in biology, summa cum laude, at Columbia University, and his doctorate at Yale University in 1977. He received the John S. Nicholas Award for Outstanding Biology Dissertation from Yale for his doctoral research. Following a postdoctoral appointment at Stanford, he joined the Caltech faculty as an assistant professor in 1980. He was appointed full professor in 1989.

In addition to the "Science pour l'Art" Science Prize of LVMH, Meyerowitz also received the Genetics Society of America Medal this year. He also received the Gibbs Medal from the American Society of Plant Physiologists in 1995 and the Pelton Award from the Botanical Society of America and the Conservation Research Foundation in 1994. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1995 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991, and received a Sloan Foundation Fellowship in 1981.

Contact: Jay Aller (818) 395-3631

Written by John Avery