Pioneering minds from the fields of biodiversity and technology will visit Montana State University students on Friday, October 7, as part of the annual E.O. Wilson and George R. Stibitz awards given by the American Computer and Robotics Museum in Bozeman.
Both awards were established by George Keremedjiev, founder and director of the American Computer and Robotics Museum and a 2009 recipient of an honorary doctorate from MSU. For the past 19 years, the museum has been presenting the Stibitz awards, named in honor of the man who helped develop the first modern digital computer. Prominent biologist E.O. Wilson – who received a Stibitz award in 2006 for pioneering the Electronic Encyclopedia of Life – presented the first Wilson awards in 2009.
This year, the Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award will go to Dan Wenk (pictured left), superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, for his “leadership and undaunted dedication toward the preservation of biodiversity in Yellowstone National Park.” Wenk has been Yellowstone superintendent since 2011.
There are three 2016 George R. Stibitz Computer and Communications Pioneer Award Recipients, two of whom are receiving the award posthumously for leading teams that developed the technology to crack Nazi Germany’s Enigma Machine Code during World War II. Germany used the Nazi “Enigma Machine,” as it was known, to send coded transmissions during the war. Its code was considered unbreakable until the work of Alan Turing and Joseph Desch.
The award for Turing will be accepted by his nephew, Sir Dermot Turing, of London. The award for Desch will be accepted by his daughter, Debbie Desch, of Dayton, Ohio.
The third recipient of the Stibitz award is Mary Shaw, of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Shaw was recognized in 2014 by President Barack Obama as a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation Medal Recipient for her work in computer science education. Shaw’s achievements in the field of software engineering have had a legendary and seminal impact on computer science as a whole and the evolution of computer software in particular. In addition, Shaw’s impact on computer science curricula, as noted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE, in the areas of abstract data structures, software architecture and software design have helped to revolutionize the teaching of computer science worldwide.
The recipients of this year’s awards will visit with MSU students during the day and be honored at a private dinner in the evening. This year’s awards ceremonies are co-sponsored by MSU’s Office of the President, College of Engineering, College of Letters and Science, Honors College, and MSU’s Humanities Institute as well as Zoot Enterprises and Mr. Nels and Mrs. Liz Leutwiler.