USU Researcher Receives Governor's Medal for Science and Technology

May 8, 2001

LOGAN — Utah State University researcher Gail E. Bingham was one of five Utahns to receive the Governor's Medal for Science and Technology. Governor Mike Leavitt honored Bingham and fellow recipients at a ceremony May 8 at the Governor's

"American scientists and engineers have always been among the Nation's greatest assets. It is a privilege for Utah to honor these individuals," Leavitt said. "Because of their work, Utah is acknowledged as one of the Nation's premier centers in science and technology."

A senior scientist with the Utah State University Research Foundation's Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) and a research professor with Utah State's Plants, Soils and Biometeorology Department, Bingham played a lead role is securing SDL's recent award of a $50 million NASA contract to develop a key instrument for the GIFTS (Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer) program. This next generation Geosynchronous weather and environmental satellite system, is expected to revolutionize weather forecasting.

Also occupying Bingham's energy is the development of a new growth chamber of the International Space Station. The USU micrometeorologist traveled with a team of students to Russia's Space City earlier this spring with a prototype greenhouse to train cosmonauts on the unit's operation. Bingham previously led a number of plant-growing experiments flown on the Russian space station Mir which he joked "are now on the bottom of the ocean."

"Dr. Bingham is an outstanding researcher and teacher," said Allan Steed, SDL director, who nominated Bingham for the award. "But more importantly, he has been an unselfish and very effective mentor to numerous next generation scientists."

SDL will honor Dr. Bingham with a reception on Monday, May 14, at 4 p.m. at the research lab, located at 1695 N. Research Parkway in North Logan. The public is invited.

A graduate of Utah State, Bingham subsequently earned a doctorate degree from Cornell University. After a two-year stint as an atmospheric physicist with the U.S. Army, he joined the University of California's Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Bingham returned to Utah State as an associate professor in 1983 and was appointed Utah State Climatologist the same year. He joined SDL in 1985.

Established in 1983, the Governor's Medal for Science and Technology is the state's highest scientific honor. According to the governor's office, it is presented to leading innovators of technology and educators in recognition of outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, chemical, mathematical and engineering sciences.

Award recipients for 2001, in addition to Bingham, are Mary C. Beckerle, an investigator at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah; Bob Randolph, developer of the graphite composite business in Utah and Janet Ross, founder of the Four Corners School for outdoor education. The award was presented posthumously to Doyle Stephens, a biologist who studied the Great Salt Lake and other state water systems. Stephens died last year.