President Joe Biden has announced his intent to appoint Professor Rafael Bras to the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science.
Bras is one of 12 distinguished scientists and engineers selected by the president to serve on the committee, according to a White House announcement on March 23.
The National Medal of Science is the nation’s highest scientific honor. Nominees are evaluated by the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science, a board composed of 16 presidential appointees.
Bras holds the K. Harrison Brown Family Chair and serves as a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. He is the former provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Georgia Tech. Bras works in the field of hydrology with particular interest on land-atmosphere-biosphere interactions.
Each year, the National Science Foundation sends out a call to the scientific community for the nomination of new candidates for the National Medal of Science. Individuals are nominated by their peers with each nomination requiring three letters of support from individuals in science and technology. Nominations are then sent to the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science for consideration.
The National Medal of Science was established in 1959 as a presidential award to be given to individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences." In 1980, Congress expanded this recognition to include the social and behavioral sciences. Since its establishment, the National Medal of Science has been awarded to 506 distinguished scientists and engineers whose careers spanned decades of research and development.