First presented in 1966, the award is the highest honor the Institute bestows upon its graduates. It is awarded in recognition of a particular achievement of noteworthy value, a series of such achievements, or a career of noteworthy accomplishment.
The 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are:
- Andrea M. Ghez (MS '89, PhD '93), for her role in demonstrating the existence of a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy and providing an opportunity to study the fundamental laws of physics in the extreme environment near a black hole.
- Clyde A. Hutchison III (PhD '69), for his work in determining the first complete sequence of a DNA molecule and in developing site-directed mutagenesis, and for his work on synthetic genomics.
- Mark H. Kryder (MS ’66, PhD ’70), for his work on perpendicular recording technology, which is used in every hard disk drive, and on full disk encryption, which today is used to prevent the theft of stored data.
- Simon Ramo (PhD ’36), for a lifetime of contributions, including pioneering work with microwaves, the development of the GE electron microscope, the advancement of missile and rocket technology, and the creation of vital and influential companies.
- Charles E. Wheatley III (BS '56), for his work with spread spectrum systems and his contributions to the design and development of CDMA cellular systems supporting high-speed data transfer and GPS systems.
For complete profiles of the recipients, follow the individuals' links.
The awards will be presented at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Beckman Auditorium on the Caltech campus.