THE AMERICAN Chemical Society honored Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) with its Public Service Award during an April 30 ceremony on Capitol Hill.
The awards, established in 1997 under ACS Past-President Ronald Breslow, recognize outstanding contributions to the development of public policy that benefits chemistry and the sciences.
ACS President Bruce E. Bursten applauded the awardees for their "vision and courage" and cited their leadership in "building the bipartisan consensus to advance the innovation agenda."
Gordon, chairman of the House Science & Technology Committee, has worked to advance innovation legislation in the House. He was deeply involved in passage of the America Competes Act, which aims to strengthen math and science education and to increase opportunities for teachers.
Alexander has been a central figure in creating a national agenda to enhance U.S. innovation and competitiveness. His efforts led to the National Academies' landmark report "Rising Above the Gathering Storm," which calls on the U.S. to dramatically increase support for science education and basic research.
Bodman is a chemical engineer by training with three decades of experience in the private sector. He previously served as deputy secretary of the Treasury Department and deputy secretary of the Commerce Department. His leadership has helped DOE increase its focus on research and development.
"The challenges that we face are quite formidable, in particular on the energy front where both global demand and prices are rising rapidly," Bodman said. "They're doing that at the same time that our dependence on fossil fuels is taking a very heavy toll on the environment, so we simply must develop and commercialize cleaner, more diverse, more sustainable sources of energy."
The ceremony was preceded by a poster session sponsored by the Council of Undergraduate Research. There, students from primarily undergraduate institutions interacted with public officials as well as ACS staff and governance.