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Rochester Buzz

Special Edition | Oct. 15, 2010

Rochester Professor of Chemistry Esther Conwell to Receive National Medal of Science

Pioneering Scientist Helped Launch the Computer Revolution

Esther Conwell '44 (MS), a professor of chemistry at Rochester, has been chosen by President Barack Obama to receive the National Medal of Science. Conwell, who has a joint appointment in the Department of Physics, helped launch the computer revolution by explaining how electrons travel through semiconductors.

Established by Congress in 1959, the medal is awarded by the president to recognize "outstanding contributions to knowledge" in the sciences.

"Esther Conwell's career in science is a triumph built on decades of important scientific contributions in academia and in private laboratories," says University President Joel Seligman. "She persevered in a world that often was not supportive of women and their aspirations. For her scientific contributions and her pioneering role as a leading woman in science, she is a source of pride for our entire University of Rochester community." Read more . . .

Esther ConwellMELIORA MOMENT: Conwell hugs her grandchildren after a news conference at the University announcing her selection for the National Medal of Science.

MORE ABOUT CONWELL Earning a PhD in atomic physics at a time when few women were entering science, Conwell was named one of Discover magazine's "50 Most Important Women in Science" in 2002 for her work.

MORE ABOUT THE MEDAL Conwell was one of a dozen prominent scientists and innovators recognized by the White House. The recipients of this year's National Medals of Science and of Technology and Innovation will be honored at ceremony later this year.


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