People: Carlo Croce, Richard Smalley Receive 1993 John Scott Awards, Presented By City Of Philadelphia To Honor Pioneering Work

Awards, Presented By City Of Philadelphia To Honor Pioneering Work Carlo M. Croce, director of the Thomas Jefferson University Cancer Institute and Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and Richard E. Smalley, Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry at Rice University in Houston, have received the 1993 John Scott Awards, presented by the Board of City Trusts of the city of Philadelphia on November 19. The award is given annually for inventions that "contribute to the comfort, welfare, and ha

Craig Montesano
Dec 12, 1993
Awards, Presented By City Of Philadelphia To Honor Pioneering Work Carlo M. Croce, director of the Thomas Jefferson University Cancer Institute and Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and Richard E. Smalley, Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry at Rice University in Houston, have received the 1993 John Scott Awards, presented by the Board of City Trusts of the city of Philadelphia on November 19. The award is given annually for inventions that "contribute to the comfort, welfare, and happiness of mankind." Croce and Smalley each received $10,000.

Croce was recognized for his pioneering research into human cancer, particularly in combining cytogenetics and gene mapping to identify the genetic mechanisms underlying abnormal cell growth. He was also responsible for the identification of previously unrecognized oncogenes in B- cell tumors.

In his acceptance speech, Croce acknowledged that his research was "the logical continuation of something that happened here in the city of Philadelphia--the discovery, in 1960, of the Philadelphia chromosome." The Philadelphia chromosome, a crucial link to several types of cancer and tumors, as well as to mental retardation and other disorders, was first described by Peter C. Howell and David A. Hungerford (Science, 132:1497, 1960). Hunger-ford died last month (The Scientist, Nov. 29, 1993, page 22).

Assessing that breakthrough, which presented evidence of genetic changes in cancer cells, led Croce to apply "modern technology in molecular biology to identify the genes that are involved in cancer," he said.

Robert Gallo, chief of the National Cancer Institute's laboratory of tumor cell biology, says of Croce, "I've known Carlo since he was a baby--meaning when he first came to Philadelphia. He was then one of the brightest, brashest, most successful young scientists I'd known, and now he's graduated into middle age being one of the brightest, brashest, best scientists I know."

Smalley was cited for "the methods and concepts that led to the realization in the laboratory of a buckminsterfullerene." Collaborating with University of Sussex researcher Harold Kroto in 1985, Smalley used a unique laser vaporization technique originally intended to generate atomic clusters. An accidental, but welcome, byproduct of their research was the discovery of a third natural form of carbon. They christened it buckminsterfullerene--after R. Buckminster Fuller (another John Scott awardee in 1979), who invented the geodesic dome in 1948. It is called buckyball because of its characteristic soccer-ball shape. "We couldn't find another title that quite so crisply said just what we wanted to say," Smalley said at the award ceremony.

Theorizing on its future uses, Smalley foresaw the buckyball as a "harbinger of a whole new way of building materials on a nanometer scale," he recalled.

Exactly why John Scott, a chemist in Edinburgh, Scotland, originally bequeathed $4,000 to Philadelphia in 1816 remains unclear, although it is believed that he was an admirer of Benjamin Franklin. His instructions to the city called for a cash prize, medal, and certificate to be awarded to "ingenious men and women who make useful inventions." Starting in the 20th century, however, the emphasis of the early awards on patented inventions shifted to scientific discoveries.

Last year, one of the awards went to Kary Mullis, who this year received the Nobel Prize (B. Spector, The Scientist, Jan. 11, 1993, page 23).


Lipman Bers, an emeritus professor of mathematics at Columbia University and a prominent advocate for human rights, died October 29 in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 79 years old. He had suffered from Parkinson's disease and had had strokes over the last three years, according to his son.

Bers, Davies Professor of Mathematics at Columbia from 1973 until his retirement in 1982 (after which he became Davies Professor, emeritus), acquired an international reputation for his contributions to mathematical analysis and geometry. He developed the theory of pseudodynamic functions. His most significant work dealt with the theory of quasiconformal mappings and their application to the theory of Riemann surfaces and Kleinian groups. In his later years, he was considered a leader in this mathematical discipline.

He published almost 100 articles in mathematical journals; nearly 50 graduate students received doctorates under his direction.

But Bers was at least as well known for his human rights efforts, especially on behalf of mathematicians and scientists in the former Soviet Union. He founded the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academy of Sciences and was an organizer of the International Defense Committee of Mathematicians.

He helped obtain the release of Soviet mathematician Yuri Shik-hanovich in 1974, and, at the request of dissident Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov, organized mathematicians to petition Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin for the release of mathematician Leonid Plyushch. Later, he lobbied for the release of the imprisoned Sakharov. He also launched a major lobbying effort on behalf of dissident physicist Valen-tin Turchin and prominent mathematicians David and Gregory Chud- novsky and their family. Turchin and the Chudnovsky brothers eventually obtained positions at Columbia.

Bers's later activism was foreshadowed by his own early political dissent. A native of Riga, Latvia, he was the son of politically active Jewish parents. In 1934, he protested the regime that took power and was hunted by the Latvian police. Escaping to Czechoslovakia, he obtained his doctorate at Charles University in Prague in 1938. He fled Czechoslovakia for Paris just ahead of the Nazis, and escaped Paris for the United States 10 days before the German occupation in 1940.

He was a research associate at Brown University during World War II, and then joined the faculties of Syracuse University (1945-49), the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. (1949-51), and New York University (1951-64) before becoming a professor of mathematics at Columbia in 1964. He was math department chairman from 1972 to 1975.


John Verhoogen, an emeritus professor of geology and geophysics at the University of California, Berkeley, died November 8 of natural causes in Berkeley. He was 81 years old.

Verhoogen's analysis, which incorporated interrelated problems of geology, geophysics, and geochemistry, changed thinking about how rocks and minerals are formed under high pressures and temperatures of the Earth's surface, contributing to the understanding of such geological processes as continental motion, seismicity, and volcanism.

His 1951 book Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (2nd ed., New York, McGraw-Hill, 1960), written with Frank J. Turner, provided a thermodynamic analysis of the origin and evolution of hot magma and metamorphic rocks. During the 1950s, his studies of mineral and rock magnetism enabled his students to map magnetic reversals in the Earth's crust, providing the first evidence that large segments of the crust move, the basis of the theory of plate tectonics. He also studied the temperature and composition of lavas at numerous volcanoes throughout the world. He was the author of four books and 50 papers.

Born in Brussels, Belgium, Verhoogen received mining degrees from the University of Brussels in 1933 and the University of Lige in 1934 before entering Stanford University, where he earned a Ph.D. in geology in 1936. He taught for three years at the University of Brussels, before traveling to the then-Belgian Congo (now Zaire) to study Nyamuragira, an active volcano. He remained there until 1946.

He joined the UC-Berkeley faculty in 1947, and served as chairman of the department of geology and geophysics from 1963 to 1967. He retired in 1976.