Published: March 2, 1998

Longtime Boulder residents David and Frances Hawkins have been named the second recipients of the George Gamow Memorial Lecture Award at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The award honors the CU-Boulder scientists who have "made the most significant contribution to the public's understanding of science."

The Hawkins received the award at the 33rd George Gamow Memorial Lecture on March 3.

Hawkins, a distinguished professor emeritus of philosophy who taught at CU-Boulder between 1947 and 1982, devoted his life to teaching people about science. His wife and colleague, Frances, is a leader in pre-school and early childhood education. One of their many collaborative projects was founding and directing the campus-based Mountain View Center for Environmental Education, which provided training in teaching methods for elementary school and pre-school teachers. They carried these efforts abroad to England, Italy and Africa.

"Both David and Frances felt that students learned the best when they were allowed to explore on their own," said Professor Igor Gamow, son of George Gamow and a former teaching assistant of Professor Hawkins.

"The absolutely marvelous thing about this extraordinary pair of scholars is how they both inspire and enchant each other, and in the process, they enchant and inspire all who they come into contact with," he said. "We are all their students."

The award is named for George Gamow, the late CU-Boulder physics professor who developed the big bang theory of the creation of the universe. Gamow's "greatest joy and play was talking to non-scientists about science," said Igor Gamow.

The first award was presented to Professor Emeritus Albert Bartlett of physics in 1995. The award is presented periodically by the Gamow Memorial Advisory Committee.