For biochemist Robert H. Burris, winning an award is practically a routine occurrence. The pioneering scientist, who has won more than 15 national and international awards, recently added the Kenneth A. Spencer Award, given by the American Chemical Society's Kansas City section for outstanding achievement in agricultural chemistry, to his list of honors. "It's nice to get an award of this type," says the emeritus professor of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. But he is quick to point out that the achievement for which he has been singled out is actually the result of a team effort. "After all, it's the students who do the work and the professors who get the credit," he says.

Burris, 75, began his research in 1936. He was cited by the Kansas City awards committee for his discovery of the mechanism of nitrogen fixation by free-living microorganisms and plants. This became a...

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