During the same week that Americans Kerri Strug, Tom Dolan, and Amy Van Dyken struck gold at the Atlanta Olympics, President Clinton was presenting medals of a different sort to eight of the United States' top scientists in Washington, D.C.

The researchers were lauded at a White House ceremony late last month as winners of the celebrated National Medal of Science, the U.S. government's highest honor in science. They represent a wide range of disciplines and include two life scientists. Joining them at the ceremony were the five living recipients of the National Medal of Technology (see story).

Established by Congress in 1959 and first awarded three years later, the medals are administered by the National Science Foundation and honor individuals for contributing to the physical, biological, mathematical, engineering, or social and behavioral sciences.

Nominations-solicited over the World Wide Web and by letters to colleges, universities, professional societies,...

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