Washington D.C., October 02, 2020 –
On Sunday, Oct. 4, during the 2020 annual meeting, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will present two awards for extraordinary impact on the engineering profession. The Simon Ramo Founders Award will be presented to Frances S. Ligler for her research contributions and leadership in engineering. The Arthur M. Bueche Award will be given to Arden L. Bement Jr. for his contributions to technology research, policy, and national and international cooperation.
Frances S. Ligler is the Ross Lampe Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University and the School of Medicine and College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ligler is being recognized with the Simon Ramo Founders Award “for the invention and development of portable optical biosensors, service to the nation and
Arthur Ashkin, a physicist who was awarded a 2018 Nobel Prize for figuring out how to harness the power of light to trap microscopic objects for closer study, calling his invention optical tweezers, died on Sept. 21 at his home in Rumson, N.J. He was 98.
His daughter, Judith Herscu, confirmed the death on Monday.
Optical tweezers — or optical traps, as they are more properly known — use the pressure from a highly focused laser beam to manipulate microscopic objects, from atoms to living organisms, like viruses and bacteria.
As the Nobel committee wrote, Dr. Ashkin had “invented optical tweezers that grab particles, atoms, molecules, and living cells with their laser beam fingers.”
Trapping biological material proved to have groundbreaking practical applications in research and in understanding the behavior of the basic building blocks of life, like DNA, and other biological systems. Today, optical tweezers are widely manufactured and