Published: Jan. 17, 2014

Two University of Colorado Boulder researchers were among the 15 honored this week by the National Academy of Sciences for their extraordinary scientific achievements.

Marvin Caruthers, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is the recipient of the NAS Award in Chemical Sciences, and Deborah Jin, an adjoint professor of physics, is the recipient of the Comstock Prize in Physics.

Caruthers is being honored for his groundbreaking work on the chemical synthesis of DNA and RNA that made it possible to decode and encode genes and genomes.

Supported by the Merck Company Foundation, the award and $15,000 prize honors innovative research in the chemical sciences that contributes to a better understanding of the natural sciences and to the benefit of humanity.

Caruthers has received many past honors, including a 2006 National Medal of Science, the 2005 NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society and a 1981 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Jin—a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and a fellow at JILA, a joint institute of NIST and CU-Boulder—is being honored for landmark experiments that demonstrated quantum degeneracy and the formation of a molecular Bose-Einstein condensate in fermionic atomic gases cooled to less than 100 billionths of a degree above absolute zero using magnetic traps and lasers.

The Comstock Prize, which is awarded about every five years, recognizes a North American resident for a recent innovative discovery or investigation in electricity, magnetism or radiant energy. The prize carries an award of $25,000, plus $25,000 to support the recipient’s research.

Jin’s numerous past awards include the 2008 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics, a 2003 MacArthur Fellowship and the 2013 L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award for North America.