Honors & Awards

California Scientists of the Year

UCLA's Division of Physical Sciences is home to some of the best scientists in California, and the world. Each year, the California Science Center recognizes an outstanding California scientist with the California Scientist of the Year Award. Through this award, the California Science Center aims to increase awareness of new scientific research and achievement. Since the first award in 1958, three UCLA scientists from the Division of Physical Sciences have been honored as California Scientist of the Year: John M. Dawson, Donald J. Cram, and Saul Winstein. 

Saul Winstein, Chemistry, 1962

Saul Winstein greatly contributed to the field of physical organic chemistry. He graduated from UCLA in 1934, and received his degree from CalTech in 1938. After a year at Harvard, he returned to UCLA in 1941, where his career flourished until his death in 1969. Among many achievements, he made important discoveries in medium effects, radical and organometallic reaction mechanisms, ion-pair behavior, and substitution and elimination reactions.

In Memoriam

Donald J. Cram, Chemistry, 1974

Donald J. Cram received his B.S. from Rollins College, Florida in 1941 and his M.S. from the University of Nebraska in 1942. He worked on the chemistry of penicillin from 1942 to 1945 at Merck & Co, and received his PhD from Harvard in 1947. After a postdoctoral fellowship at CalTech, he joined UCLA's faculty in 1947.

During his distinguished career at UCLA, Cram made major contributions to the chemistry of phenonium ions, asymmetric induction, carbanions, paracyclophanes, and reaction mechanisms. His textbook, co-authored by George Hammond, revolutionalized how organic chemistry is taught. He won the Nobel Prize in 1987 for his research discoveries that created the field of host-guest chemistry.

In Memoriam


John M. Dawson, Physics, 1978

John M. Dawson received his B.S. (1952), M.S. (1954), and PhD (1957) from the University of Maryland. He taught at Princeton University from 1956 to 1973, when he joined UCLA's faculty.

For more than four decades, Dawson was a leading figure in the physics of high temperature plasma. He made significant contributions across plasma physics: magnetic fusion, inertial confinement fusion, space plasma, plasma astrophysics, free electron lasers, and basic plasma physics. He is regarded as the father of plasma-based accelerators and computer simulation of plasmas. He served as director of the UCLA Institute of Plasma and Fusion Research from 1989 to 1991, and as principal scientist from 1989 until his retirement in 2001.

In Memoriam