PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jet Propulsion Laboratory was presented the 1986 Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service in Science at ceremonies at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24.
The Common Wealth Awards, created through the charitable legacy of industrialist-banker Ralph Hayes who died in 1977, are administered by the Bank of Delaware.
Nominees for awards in the categories of Science and Invention are chosen by Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. They were presented on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the society's founding.
Dr. Clarence R. Gates, Assistant Laboratory Director, accepted the award of $11,000, sculpture and plaque, for JPL. It was only the second time the science award had been presented to an institution. The previous instutional winner was Bell Laboratories, in 1982.
The award for Invention was presented to Kenneth Olsen, President of Digital Equipment Corp.
Common Wealth Awards are also presented in Literature, Public Service, Sociology, Government, Dramatic Arts and Mass Communications. Awards of equal amounts may be made in one or more of the eight fields in any given year.
In its nomination, Sigma Xi cited JPL's "past achievement and potential for continuing outstanding work" in exploration of the solar system with automated spacecraft. The society noted particularly the missions of Voyagers 1 and 2 as being "of most immediate interest."
Voyager 1, after investigating Jupiter and Saturn, is searching for the heliopause, the end of the sun's influence in space. Voyager 2, which encountered Uranus in January, is aimed for 1989 encounter with Neptune.
In his acceptance remarks, Dr. Gates noted that JPL joined NASA in 1959 and "shortly thereafter we began the great voyages of exploration and discovery to our moon and the planets."
The voyages, he said, produced more scientific information and understanding of the planets than in all the preceding millenia.
"Of equal importance," he said, "we have seen and touched these places, and they are now ours."
Dr. Gates also noted that the planetary exploration program involved hundreds of people from universities, other research laboratories, other NASA centers and extensive support from industry.