The awards ceremony, which often traditionally takes place in the White House, is being hosted at the Lab this year, with special in-person guests including Department of Energy Office of Science Director Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, DOE Deputy Director for Science Programs Harriet Kung, and UC President Michael Drake. Other VIP guests will join via video. The families of the laureates will also attend the ceremony in person. Attendance at the virtual ceremony is open to all by registering in advance

Hoffman’s citation reads: 

“For scientific discoveries advancing the field of

nuclear and radiochemistry, for distinguished

service to the Department’s missions in national

security and nuclear waste management, and

for sustained leadership in radiochemistry

research and education.”

Learn more about her and her work in this video

Somorjai’s citation reads:

“For seminal advances in molecular studies of

surfaces through the use of single crystals, for

the development of techniques for quantitative

determinations of surface structure, and for

establishing the molecular foundations of

heterogeneous metal catalysis.”

Learn more about him and his work in this video

The Fermi Award was established in memory of Enrico Fermi, who led the experiment that in 1942 demonstrated the first self-sustained chain reaction, opening the door to continuing research in nuclear energy. Nuclear energy provides not only electrical power, but is used in fields such as medical, agriculture, and industrial applications. 

Seven other scientists associated with the Lab have been honored with the Fermi Award. They include:

  • Ernest Lawrence, 1957
  • Glenn Seaborg, 1959
  • John Lawrence, 1983
  • Luis Alvarez, 1987
  • Arthur Rosenfeld, 2005
  • Andrew Sessler, 2013
  • Charles Shank, 2014