Clay Armstrong, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia; Bertil Hille, University of Washington, Seattle; and Roderick MacKinnon, Rockefeller University, New York. The medical researchers are winners of the 1999 Lasker Award for their discoveries of the functional and structural architecture of ion channel proteins. These proteins govern the electrical potential of membranes throughout nature, thereby generating nerve impulses and controlling muscle contraction, cardiac rhythm, and hormone secretion. Jaron Lanier, computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author, San Carlos, Calif. Lanier, probably best known for coining the term "virtual reality," is a pioneer in the scientific, engineering, and commercial aspects of the field. Among the technologies that he has proposed and implemented are the first "avatar" for network communications, the first moving camera virtual set for television production, and the first performance animation for 3-D computer graphics. He currently is lead scientist of the National Tele-immersion Initiative, a coalition of universities studying applications for Internet 2. Ben Shneiderman, head of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, University of Maryland, College Park. Among the first to recognize the importance of the user interface, Shneiderman believed it was the key to furthering the impact, usability, and popularity of computers. He also created hyperties, a hypermedia publication tool used to view and author documents containing hypertext. Hewlett-Packard Co. used hyperties in the first wide-spread distribution of hypertext prior to the World Wide Web. W. David Kingery, professor, materials science and anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson. Winner of the 1999 Kyoto Prize for advanced technology, Kingery is a pioneer in establishing ceramic technology as a materials science, work that he conducted primarily during his 37-year tenure at MIT. He wrote the seminal textbook in the field and has authored more than 200 papers. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Kingery currently is working on a textbook that explores the connection between anthropology and technology. James N. Gray, senior researcher, Microsoft Research, San Francisco. Gray's work focuses on scaleable computing, specifically, building superservers and work-group systems from commodity software and hardware. A member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council's Computer Science & Telecommunications Board, Gray is a recipient of the Assn. for Computing Machinery's A.M. Turing Award for his contributions and achievements in computer science and information technology. Rita R. Colwell, director, National Science Foundation, Washington. Colwell is the first biological scientist to head the NSF. Formerly president of the University of Maryland's Biotechnology Institute, Colwell, one of the world's foremost authorities on cholera, wants NSF to focus on "biocomplexity," an interdisciplinary approach to biodiversity that includes computerized ecosystem modeling. Lene Vestergaard Hau, physicist, Rowland Institute for Science and Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Hau led a team of scientists who have slowed the speed of light from 186,282 miles/sec to only 38 mph. The feat was accomplished by passing a laser beam through supercooled Bose-Einstein condensate. The slowing of light eventually could be applied to optical computers, high-speed switches, communications systems, television displays, and night-vision devices. Linus Torvalds, software engineer, Transmeta Corp., Santa Clara, Calif. As a 21-year-old college student in Finland, Torvalds wrote what is now known as Linux, an operating system that can be downloaded from the Web or purchased from distributors including Red Hat Software. The operating system's growing popularity has spurred software vendors to develop products to run on Linux. Angelo L. Vescovi, National Neurological Institute, Milan, Italy. Researchers led by Vescovi have found that neural stem cells in mice can metamorphose into blood-making stem cells of bone marrow. Vescovi and his team irradiated mice to destroy their bone marrow and then injected them with stem cells from a different strain of mice. The stem cells changed into cells that could produce blood cells. The research could lead to treatments for various blood diseases. Pattie Maes, associate professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory, Cambridge. Maes founded and directs the Media Lab's Software Agents Group. Her team built the first successful prototypes of agents for personalized information filtering, eager assistant agents, agents that buy and sell on behalf of a user, matchmaking agents, and remembrance agents. Maes also founded Firefly Network Inc., one of the first companies to commercialize software agent technology. Thomas R. Cech, professor and scientist, University of Colorado at Boulder. A biochemist, Cech won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1989 and was chosen this year to become the next president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Md. He will assume the new post in January, taking charge of HHMI's annual allocation of $500 million in research funds to top U.S. biologists. Marc Ewing, cofounder and chief technology officer, Red Hat Software Inc., Research Triangle Park, N.C. Designer of the Red Hat Linux OS, Ewing cofounded Red Hat Software in 1995 with Robert F. Young, presently chairman of the company. Red Hat has become the leading global supplier of the operating system developed in the early '90s by Linus Torvalds. Ewing leads the Red Hat Advanced Development Labs, which is focusing on creating a graphical desktop environment for Linux. William A. Haseltine, chairman and CEO, Human Genome Sciences Inc., Rockville, Md. The former professor at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard School of Public Health was a noted medical researcher and founded seven biotechnology companies before he was asked to lead HGS in 1992. Human Genome Sciences is the first pharmaceutical company to transfer the results of genomic research into clinical application. Haseltine holds more than 50 patents and has published over 250 journal articles. Carolyn C. Porco, associate professor, planetary science, University of Arizona, Tucson. Porco is the principal investigator for the imaging experiment on the Cassini spacecraft scheduled to arrive at Saturn in 2004, and is co-investigator on HIPPS, an integrated scientific payload proposal for the Pluto/Kuiper Express mission. A member of several NASA advisory committees, Porco is an expert on the physics of planetary ring systems. In honor of her contributions to the exploration of the outer solar system, the Asteroid (7231) Porco was named for her. Jeff Hawkins, cofounder, chairman, and chief product officer, Handspring Inc., Palo Alto, Calif. Inventor of the Pilot and PalmPilot handheld computers and a founder of Palm Computing, now a unit of 3Com Corp., Hawkins in 1998 founded Handspring with colleagues from his former venture. Holder of nine patents for various handheld devices and features, he has led development of Visor, a handheld computer that features an external expansion slot, allowing the user to add modules such as an MP3 player, pager, modem, or GPS receiver. Sharon Adler and Anders Berglund, researchers, IBM Corp.'s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Hawthorne, N.Y. Authorities on computer markup languages, Adler and Berglund were instrumental in formulating the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) and Document Style Semantics and Specification Language (DSSSL), specifications on which XML and XSL languages are based. Adler is cochair of the World Wide Web Consortium's XSL working group. Berglund, while working at CERN in Switzerland, implemented an SGML-based publishing application that served as the foundation for HTML. H. Shrikumar, graduate student, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This year Shrikumar introduced a single-chip computer the size of a match head. The microcomputer includes all components of a complete computer on a single tiny microchip, including central processing unit (CPU), memory, serial port interface circuitry, and clock oscillator. The chip is connected directly to an Internet router. Possible applications include control of household appliances and systems via the Internet from remote locations. Kenneth L. Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie, researchers, Lucent Technologies Inc.'s Bell Labs, Murray Hill, N.J. The Bell Labs scientists were awarded the 1998 National Medal of Technology for their invention of the UNIX operating system and the C programming language, innovations that led to advances in computer hardware, software, and networking systems. Most recently Thompson and Ritchie contributed to the development of Lucent's PathStar Access Server, which provides packet voice and data services. Shirley Ann Jackson, president, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. Jackson, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, assumed the presidency of RPI in July and plans to bring wider recognition to the U.S.' oldest research university. Jackson worked for 15 years at Bell Labs where she researched the theoretical basis of superconductor technology and was a tenured professor at Rutgers University. Sarah A. Gavit, project manager, Suzanne E. Smrekar, lead scientist, and Kari A. Lewis, chief mission engineer, National Aeronautics & Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The team designed the Deep Space 2 microprobes, intricate devices weighing just 4.5 lb, that will study the composition of the soil on Mars. The microprobes' technology is expected to be adopted in other space and planetary exploration projects. Gerardus 't Hooft, professor, University of Utrecht, Netherlands, and Martinus J.G. Veltman, professor emeritus, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The winners of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics have placed particle physics theory on a firmer mathematical foundation, showing how the theory may be used for precise calculations of physical quantities. Experiments at accelerator laboratories in the U.S. and Europe recently have confirmed many of their calculations. David K. Ferry, professor of engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe. Ferry, who heads the Nanostructure Research Group at ASU, is a specialist in electron transport -- how electrical current flows through a solid. In the mid-'80s he and a student created the smallest transistor ever produced, 400 angstroms in size and measuring 1.5 millionths of an inch, and later created one even smaller. Ferry is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers. Phillip Sharp, professor and head of the Dept. of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. Sharp was co-winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Medicine and won the 1999 Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences for his discovery that genes contain nonsense segments that are edited out by cells in the course of utilizing genetic information. This achievement, known as RNA splicing, has altered the course of molecular biology. Valery M. Tsourikov, chairman, CEO, and chief scientist, Invention Machine Corp., Boston. Tsourikov founded Invention Machine to develop software for engineers to use in the conceptual stage of design. The company recently introduced CoBrain, a knowledge processor based on a proprietary semantic processing technology that automates the creation of content for Internet portals, Web sites, intranets, and corporate knowledge bases. Robert T. Fraley, Robert B. Horsch, Ernest G. Jaworski, and Stephen G. Rogers, researchers, Monsanto Co., St. Louis. The Monsanto scientists are National Medal of Technology honorees for their achievements in plant biology and agricultural biotechnology, specifically for developing a simple and reliable method for transferring desirable genes into crop plants. Using the team's technology, scientists can design plants with specific characteristics such as tolerance for herbicides and protection against destructive insects and diseases. Bernard S. Meyerson, director of telecommunication technologies, IBM Corp.'s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Meyerson was recently recognized as a Distinguished Inventor by the Intellectual Property Owners Assn. for his patented method for making low-cost semiconductor chips using silicon germanium (SiGe). Used in wireless communications applications, SiGe chips can be used to create smaller, cheaper devices with extended battery life. Meyerson also is an IBM Fellow, the company's highest technical honor. Mario R. Capecchi, professor of human genetics and biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Capecchi, a Kyoto Prize winner, developed gene targeting, a method for insertion or deletion of genes in mice, which he now is using to determine the function of genes believed to mediate important development decisions in the mouse embryo. The technology is being used to generate a model for human genetic diseases. Adi Shamir, computer scientist, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. One of the world's foremost cryptographers, Shamir has developed a computer that could vastly reduce the time it takes to crack encrypted code, theoretically obsoleting today's encryption programs. Ironically, Shamir, along with Ronald Rivest of MIT Leonard Adleman of the University of Southern California, invented the standard 512-bit encryption design that could be rendered insecure by the new device. Ray Kurzweil, founder and chief technology officer, Kurzweil Applied Intelligence Inc., Cambridge, Mass. An engineer and inventor, Kurzweil is credited with creating an omnifont optical character recognition system, a print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, and a text-to-speech synthesizer, among other devices. He also wrote The Age of Intelligent Machines (1990, MIT Press) and The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999, Viking Penguin). Laura L. Kiessling, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Kiessling, an expert on inflammation, led a team that discovered a new class of synthetic molecules that offers new insights into the biology of inflammation as well as a new strategy for treating pain, swelling, and other hallmarks of injury or illness. In June Kiessling received a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. Alex P. Pentland, professor of media arts and sciences and academic head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory, Cambridge. Pentland, named by Newsweek as one of 100 Americans most likely to shape the next century, has worked on innovations including wearable computing (augmenting human intelligence by building sensors, displays, and computers into glasses, belts, shoes, etc.), human-machine interface, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, and machine and human vision. Robert Hockaday, founder, Energy Related Devices Inc., Los Alamos, N. Mex. A physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Hockaday took a leave of absence to work on developing fuel-cell technology. With funding from Manhattan Scientifics Inc., Hockaday and his team successfully operated a cell phone for 24 hours on fuel-cell power and are aiming for 100 hours of talk time and 40 days of standby power. Hockaday's power cells are fueled by a combination of water and methanol. Carlos Cordon-Cardo, director, division of molecular pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Cordon-Cardo, also associate professor of pathology at Cornell University Medical College, is recognized for his work in tumor biology and molecular analysis of human cancers. He also is cofounder and a consultant to IMPATH Inc., a provider of diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment-defining information to physicians specializing in cancer treatment. Leonardo Chiariglione, head of the television technologies research division at Telecom Italia's Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecommunicazioni, Turin, Italy. Founder of the Moving Picture Experts Group, an organization that established a series of audio and video compression standards, and a creator of the controversial MP3 format for encoding music files, Chiariglione in February was named executive director of the Secure Digital Music Initiative, an effort that aims to reduce software piracy. J. Craig Venter, president and chief scientific officer, Celera Genomics, Rockville, Md. Using what Venter calls a "whole genome shotgun approach in deciphering complex genomes," Celera in September completed the sequencing phase in deciphering the genome of the fruit fly. Celera now is turning its resources to sequencing the human genome. Venter expects to complete the effort by the end of 2001 and provide a database of his findings to academia and the pharmaceutical industry. Michael F.X. Gigliotti and E. Trifon Laskaris, researchers, General Electric Co.'s Research & Development Center, Schenectady, N.Y. The scientists are winners of Coolidge Fellowship Awards, the R&D Center's highest honor. Gigliotti, a metallurgist, was honored for his pioneering contributions to the development of high-temperature materials, particularly nickel- and titanium-based alloys for turbine engines. Laskaris, a mechanical engineer, was cited for his world leadership in the design and application of superconducting magnets. Richard E. Borcherds, assistant professor of mathematics, University of California, Berkeley. Borcherds is a winner of the Fields Medal, the top prize in mathematics that is awarded every four years. He was honored for his work in algebra and geometry, in particular his proof of the Moonshine conjecture that was formulated in the late 1970s by two British mathematicians. In his proof, Borcherds used many of the ideas of string theory -- a way of making theoretical physics useful for mathematical theory. Federico Capasso and Rudolf Kazarinov, researchers, Lucent Technologies Inc.'s Bell Labs, Murray Hill, N.J. The scientists' contributions to the invention of the quantum cascade (QC) laser earned them the Rank Prize for optoelectronics. QC lasers have potential applications in pollution monitoring, industrial process control, auto-emission diagnostics, and medical testing. Capasso is recognized for his basic and applied research on atomically engineered, manmade semiconductor materials and devices; Kazarinov, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is known for his seminal contributions to semiconductor lasers. Laura Pospisil, Melissa Hostetler, and Salam Abumaraq contributed to this article.