USA Science & Engineering Festival: Students and Nobel Laureates Across the Nation Begin Bonding over PB&J

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WASHINGTON - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Starting today, about 6,000 middle and high school students from across the United States will share brown bag lunches with over 20 Nobel Laureates.

This special highlight of the USA Science & Engineering Festival kicks off with a visit to Bladensburg High School in Maryland today by Dr. William Phillips, who won the Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering a way to cool and trap atoms with laser light that aids in navigation through space. Dr. Phillips works for the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Students from Philadelphia, PA, Palo Alto, CA, La Plata, MD, Herndon, VA, Tallahassee, FL and Cambridge, MA are among those who were lucky enough to be selected for the program. The program's goal is to capture the imagination of students with the Nobel Prize winners' stories and inspire them with career possibilities if they major in science and/or engineering.

Nobel Laureate participants in the USA Science & Engineering Festival's Lunch with a Laureate Program include: Dudley R. Herschbach in 1986 for Chemistry, Leon M. Lederman in 1988 for Physics, Kary B. Mullis in 1993 for Chemistry, Phillip A. Sharp in 1993 for Physiology or Medicine, Douglas D. Osheroff in 1996 for Physics, Sir Harold Kroto in 1996 for Chemistry, William D. Phillips in 1997 for Physics, Kurt Wuthrich in 2002 for Chemistry, Peter Agre in 2003 for Chemistry, Robert H. Grubbs in 2005 for Chemistry and John C. Mather in 2006 for Physics.

The Nobel Laureates who are reaching out to local schools won their prizes over the past 30 years. The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. Nobel Prizes in the sciences have been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine. Nobel Prize winners in each category received $1.4 million in 2009, which was then divided equally among those who shared it.

Here are the stories of a few Nobel Laureates who are part of the Lunch with a Laureate program:

Dr. Peter Agre, director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Institute, was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The son of a college professor, Dr. Agre dropped out of high school, in part, because he was failing chemistry. he finally got his high school degree in night school. Dr. Agre won the Nobel Prize for his laboratory's 1991 discovery of the long-sought "channels" that regulate and facilitate water molecule transport through cell membranes or aquaporins, a precursor to treatments for human diseases such as prostate cancer.

Dr. Leon Lederman, a Pritzker Professor of Physics at the Illinois Institute of Technology, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988. Lederman was raised in new York City, where his father made a living running a hand operated laundry. Dr. Lederman was awarded the Nobel Prize for transforming neutrinos into tools of research that are used to explore the edges of the universe and understand the origins of our world.

Dr. John C. Mather, Senior Astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2006. he remembers loving science from a very early age and the patience of his parents as he pursued it. for one science fair project, he kept eight baby rats in cages under the kitchen table and fed them different foods to evaluate what they needed in their diets. His work team analyzed data from NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), which studied patterns of radiation and helped to verify the Big Bang Theory of how the universe was created.

(Bios are adapted from Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 2003, Editor Tore Frängsmyr, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 2004).

The Festival is hosted by Lockheed Martin and sponsors include Life Technologies Foundation, K&L Gates, clean Technology and Sustainability Industries Organization (CTSI), Larry and Diane Bock, Office of Naval Research (ONR), ResMed Foundation, Farrell Family Foundation, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Motorola Foundation, Aerospace Industry Association, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, LLC., AT&T, Agilent Technologies, Amgen, Celgene Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, National Institutes of Health, Illumina, The Kavli Foundation, Intel Corporation, You Can Do the Rubik's Cube, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., Genentech Inc., Purdue University, MedImmune, Sandia National Laboratories, Project Lead The way (PLTW), Baxter International, Celestron, Cisco, University of Maryland, THE SCRIPPS FOUNDATION for Science and the Environment, Raytheon Company, Human Genome Sciences, Rockwell Collins, NuVasive Inc., FEI Company, Case Western Reserve University, Biogen Idec Foundation, LifeStraw, Microsoft Corporation, Draper Laboratory, Colella Photography, Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp., Silicon Valley Bank, Bechtel Corporation, SpaceX, Rochester Institute of Technology, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Research in Motion, the Thirty Meter Telescope Project, Astronomy Outreach Foundation, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering, National Math and Science Initiative, SpringBoard, a Program of the Juneau Economic Development Council, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Research and Science, University of Denver, Air Force Research Laboratory, DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer, The Aerospace Corporation, ExxonMobil,, Periodic Quest, the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone and DeVry University-DC Metro.

Current media partners include The Science Channel, Popular Science and Science Illustrated, New Scientist, EE Times Group, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, POPULAR MECHANICS, ScienceBlogs, Technology Review published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Epoch Times, EarthSky , ABC TV/TBD, Communications, "WAMU 88, - American University Radio," C&EN, the newsmagazine of the chemical & related sciences, Forbes Wolfe Emerging Tech Report, Career Communications Group,, PBS, ABC TV/TBD, Physics Today, The Northern Virginia Technology Council, Destination DC, FAMILY Magazine, Sigma Xi, SciVee, Inc., SchoolTube, LLC, and

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