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11/13/2000 08:00:00

Caltech chemist John Baldeschwielernamed winner of 2000 National Medal of Science

John Baldeschwieler, J. Stanley Johnson Professor and professor of chemistry, emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology, has been named by President Clinton as one of this year's 12 recipients of the National Medal of Science. The announcement was made today (Nov. 13) at the White House.

Baldeschwieler, who has been on the Caltech faculty since 1973, was cited for his work on molecular assemblies for use in the delivery of pharmaceuticals, for his work on scientific instrumentation, and particularly for his development of ion cyclotron resonance spectroscopy.

"I am delighted with the recognition that the award brings to our work at Caltech, and to the extraordinarily talented group of students that I've had the privilege to work with over the past four decades," Baldeschwieler said after receiving notification of the award.

David Baltimore, Caltech's president and a 1999 recipient of the National Medal of Science, said the award is a fitting tribute to Baldeschwieler's pioneering work in a wide range of fields.

"The National Medal of Science is America's most prestigious science honor, and I think it's appropriate that the award goes to John for his many contributions to basic science, as well as for his public service."

Baldeschwieler joined the Caltech faculty after several years at Harvard and Stanford universities. He was a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee from 1969 to 1972, serving as vice chairman from 1970 to 1972. He served as deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology from 1971 to 1973.

Baldeschwieler pioneered the use of nuclear magnetic resonance and double resonance spectroscopy, nuclear Overhauser effects, and perturbed angular correlation spectroscopy in chemical systems. His recent work concentrates on the use of phospholipid vesicles in cancer diagnosis and therapy, the development of scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopy for the study of molecules on surfaces, and on novel techniques for producing combinatorial arrays of oligonucleotides.

A native of New Jersey, he earned his doctorate at Berkeley in 1959. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

He was a founder of Vestar Inc., and served as chairman of the company's board of directors until it merged with NeXagen Inc. to form NeXstar Pharmaceuticals. He also served as director of NeXstar until it was acquired by Gilead Sciences, Inc. Baldeschwieler was also a founder and director of Combion, Inc.

He currently serves as a managing member of the Athenaeum Fund and is a director of Drug Royalty Corporation Inc., the Huntington Medical Research Institutes, Pasadena Entretec, and several privately held companies.

The National Medal of Science is presented annually by the president to scientific leaders who have changed or set new directions in research and science policy. Baldeschwieler and the other 11 recipients will receive their awards at the White House on December 1.