Myriam Sarachik Receives National Medal of Science Posthumously

She was always a pioneer.
Video by Intelligent Art Media

National Medal of Science

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation and the National Medal of Science are the top honors an American scientist or technologist can receive. The newest class of Laureates, including the late Myriam Sarachik, was honored on October 24, 2023, with a White House Ceremony and remarks by the President of the United States. The National Science and Technology Medals Foundation was created to support and celebrate the work and lives of the Laureates of the NMTI and NMS. This short video discusses Sarachik’s life and stunning scientific achievements.

According to the American Physical Society, her research in the 1960s provided the first experimental confirmation of what is now known as the Kondo effect, though the result could reasonably have been dubbed the Sarachik-Kondo effect. Her critical paper languished, garnering few citations and no recognition until late in her life. Despite the lack of acknowledgement, Sarachik became a professor at the City College of New York in 1964, where she would remain for the rest of her career.

Now she has been awarded one of the nation’s top honors in science.

“The male faculty had very low expectations for me,” Sarachik recalled. “They really did not consider that I would be a serious contributor to the field of physics.”

After receiving her PhD she engaged in a frustratingly long job search before landing a post at the highly prestigious Bell Labs. “She called it a hotbed of physics,” recalls husband Phil Sarachik.

October 24, 2023

President Biden awards the National Medal of Science to the family of Myriam Sarachik–Phil Sarachik, left, Karen Sarachik, right–White House. Photo by Ryan K. Morris
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