SPECIAL HISTORICAL MOMENTS
NRL Scientists Receive Nobel Prize
NRL has produced two Nobel Laureates, J. Karle and H. Hauptman, who each received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in1985 for devising direct methods employing X-ray diffraction analysis in the determination of crystal structures.X-ray diffraction analysis involves the determination of thearrangement of atoms in crystals from which the molecular formulais derived directly. Determination of the molecular structure isimportant in that once the structural arrangement is understood,the substance itself can then be synthesized to produce useful products. This research occupies an almost unique position inscience because the information it provides is used continuouslyin other fields. In fact, many phenomena in the physical, chemical,metallurgical, geological and biological sciences are interpretablein terms of the arrangements of atoms.Methodologies for determining molecular structures are major contributions to science and technology. For example, they formthe basis for the computer packages used in pharmaceutical labsand research institutions worldwide for the analysis of more than10,000 new substances each year. A significant portion of structural research has direct application to public health, includingthe identification and characterization of potent toxins found in animals and plants, antitoxins, heart drugs, antibiotics, anti-addictive substances, anticarcinogens, and antimalarials.
Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in ScienceAwarded to NRL Scientist
In 1993, NRL scientist Dr. Isabella Karle was awarded the Bower Award andPrize for Achievement in Science for her groundbreaking achievements incrystallography and molecular chemistry. In receiving the award, Dr. Karlewas cited by the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia for her “pioneeringcontributions in determining three-dimensional structure of molecules,making use of both X-ray and electron diffraction, and in particular for her definitive introduction ... of the symbolic addition method to reveal molecular structure directly from X-ray studies.”The Award, presented as a memorial to Dr. Benjamin Franklin, honorsoutstanding achievement and innovation in the life and physical sciencesand its application to service in the public good. Dr. Isabella Karle is thefourth recipient of the prize and the first woman to receive it—clearly afitting recognition of her half-century career in science and service to NRL,the United States Navy, and mankind in general.