Announcement of the Presentation of the National Medal of Science to Doctor Philip Handler

October 9, 1981

The President today awarded the National Medal of Science to Dr. Philip Handler, an outstanding American biochemist and former president of the National Academy of Sciences, the Nation's most prestigious scientific organization.

The National Medal of Science, created by an Act of Congress in 1959, is the Nation's highest scientific award. The award is made by the President ``to individuals who, in his judgment, are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering science.''

In awarding the National Medal of Science to Dr. Handler, the President has cited his ``outstanding contribution to biochemical research, resulting in significant contributions to mankind, including research that led to a clearer understanding of pellagra.'' The award also cites Dr. Handler for his national leadership in furthering the state of American science.

Dr. Handler served as president of the National Academy of Sciences from 1969 to 1981, where he was a leading spokesman for excellence in American scientific endeavors. His strong and eloquent leadership of the Academy during turbulent times for science was praised widely by the scientific community on the occasion of his recent retirement.

In addition to his Academy presidency, Dr. Handler served as a member, and subsequently as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the National Science Board from 1962 to 1970, where he wisely upheld the cause of science and the development of the National Science Foundation.

In awarding this high honor to Dr. Handler, the President extended his best wishes to him as a scientist and individual who had devoted himself so completely to the advancement of American science, to intellectual freedom in international science, and to human progress and well-being everywhere.