President Clinton's choices for the winners of the 1994-95 Enrico Fermi Award--Freeman Dyson, a professor, emeritus, of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and Liane B. Russell, a geneticist who is a senior corporate fellow at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee--reflect a changing attitude on the part of the United States government about the benefits of nuclear power, say some scientists.

The award, the U.S.'s oldest in science and technology, was established in 1956 to honor the memory of Enrico Fermi, the leader of the group of scientists that achieved the first self-sustained, controlled nuclear reaction on December 2, 1942.

The honor was originally intended to recognize the development of applications in the field of nuclear energy and technology. Among the early winners, for example, was nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who played a central role in developing the first atomic bomb. But in...

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