Three Women Scholars From Flagship State Universities to Receive Franklin Institute Awards

Since 1824, The Franklin Institute of Philadelphia has honored the legacy of Benjamin Franklin by presenting awards for outstanding achievements in science, engineering, and industry. Past laureates include Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Claude Shannon, Jane Goodall, Nikola Tesla, Stephen Hawking, Edward Lorenz, the Wright Brothers, Bill Gates, and Albert Einstein. Now in their 196th year, The Franklin Institute Awards pay tribute to America’s most celebrated scientists.

This year, 10 scholars were selected to receive Franklin Institute Awards at a ceremony in Philadelphia on April 30. Three of the honorees are women.

Barbara Partee will receive the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science. She is a professor emerita of linguistics and philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is one of the pioneers of the burgeoning field of linguistics. Dr. Partee is being honored “for her foundational contributions that synthesize insights from linguistics, philosophy, logic, and psychology to understand how words and sentences combine to express meaning in human language.” Professor Partee retired from teaching in 2004. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where she majored in mathematics. Dr. Partee earned a Ph.D. in linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Monica G. Turner will be presented with the 2020 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science. She is the Eugene P. Odum Professor of Ecology and a Vilas Research Professor in the department of integrative biology, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Turner is being honored “for her contributions to our understanding of how changes in large-scale patterns associated with natural processes, such as forest fires, and human activities, such as urbanization, can affect not only ecological systems but also the social and economic well-being of society.” Professor Turner is a graduate of Fordham University in The Bronx, New York, where she majored in biology. She holds a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Georgia.

Margaret M. Murnane will share the 2020 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics. She is a Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Murnane is being honored with Henry C. Kapteyn “for their pioneering innovations that have made high-intensity sources of x-rays practical and widely available for the study of a broad range of physical processes, including chemical reactions, at the quadrillionth-of-a-second time scale.” Professor Murnane is a native of Ireland and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at University College, Cork. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

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