The National Science Foundation Pays Tribute to Physicist Dr. Walter Massey

Walter E. Massey will receive the Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The prestigious award honors science and technology leaders who have made substantial contributions to the welfare of the nation through public service in science, technology, and public policy.

Massey has had an extensive career as a leader in the fields of science and technology. He is a former professor from the University of Chicago and a former director of Argonne National Laboratory. He is also president emeritus of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, he has served as NSF director and he has held executive leadership roles at Brown University and the University of California. Currently, he serves as a senior advisor to the president of  the University of Chicago and as chair of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization.

In addition to his contributions to STEM fields, Dr. Massey has been a lifelong advocate of student success in the arts. He is particularly interested in the intersections between the arts and sciences and how exposure to both prepares students for future success and contributes to a more creative and dynamic society. Additionally, he is the only person to ever serve as both president and chairman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and as chair of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design. He had received both the Enrico Fermi Award for Science and Technology from the Chicago Historical Society and the Public Humanities Award from Illinois Humanities.

“Knowing so many of the previous Vannevar Bush awardees, and all that they have accomplished, I feel so honored to be included in their company,” Dr. Massey said. “Having served on the National Science Board and as National Science Foundation director, I fully recognize the significance of the award, and I will accept with a great deal of pride and humility.”

Dr. Massey is a graduate of Morehouse College where he studied theoretical physics. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Dr. Massey will receive the award on May 14 at the NSF annual award ceremony in Washington, D.C.


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