Casten Nominates Distinguished 98-year-old Argonne Scientist for Presidential Medal of Freedom

April 12, 2021
Press Release
“Dr. Gruen is a renowned scientist and fierce advocate for climate action whose contributions over eight decades have transformed American technological development, from nuclear fission and fusion to solar and energy storage. We as a nation are forever in his debt.”

Washington, D.C. U.S. Representative Sean Casten (D-IL) was joined by Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Bill Foster (D-IL), French Hill (R-AR), and Jerry McNerney (D-CA) in nominating distinguished Illinois scientist, Dr. Dieter M. Gruen for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Casten previously nominated Dr. Dieter Gruen on November 21st, 2019, Gruen’s 97th birthday and invited him to the 2020 State of the Union Address.

 

Dr. Gruen, now 98-years-old, immigrated to the United States from Nazi Germany in 1936. In his long career as a renowned scientist, Dr. Gruen worked to enhance American technology development through his time with the Manhattan Project and at Argonne National Laboratory. His work focused on alternative energy, and his advancements in the field included uranium purification and the reactor cooling design of nuclear-powered submarines. In recent years, Dr. Gruen has become an advocate for action on climate change with his time and talents aimed toward creating new solar cell technology.

 

“Dr. Gruen is a renowned scientist and fierce advocate for climate action whose contributions over eight decades have transformed American technological development,  from nuclear fission and fusion to solar and energy storage,” said Casten. “We as a nation are forever in his debt.”

 

“As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Chemistry Caucus, I admire Dr. Gruen’s determination and his commitment to using science to improve the world,” said Bustos. “He is a pioneer in the field and I’m glad to join this effort to recognize his contributions to Illinois, our nation and global community.”

 

 April 12, 2021

 

President Joseph Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

 

Dear Mr. President,

 

We write in support of awarding Dr. Dieter Martin Gruen the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his dedication to science, contributions to shaping the United States of America as a leader and world power in technology, innovation, and national defense, and for his continued work at the age of 98 developing alternative energy technology. 

For nearly eight decades, Dr. Gruen has worked to enhance American technology development as a former Manhattan Project Scientist and Argonne National Laboratory Distinguished Fellow. Born in 1922, Dr. Gruen is an internationally esteemed German American chemist, inventor, and innovator who immigrated to the United States from Nazi Germany in 1936. Throughout his career, Dr. Gruen has been driven by his curiosity and commitment to science – allowing him to make critical contributions to nuclear fission and fusion, solar energy, energy storage, and conservation. Specifically, Dr. Gruen has made several key technological advancements such as the initial nuclear submarine reactor cooling design and purification of the enriched uranium used to end World War II in the Pacific theater. 

Through this work and countless other selfless endeavors, Dr. Gruen has been recognized by the international scientific community with numerous awards – including from Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University, and the Patent Law Association of Chicago – for his pioneering research in chemistry, physics, along with the emerging fields of materials and nanoscience. Dr. Gruen has been granted over 60 U.S. patents for his work in alternative energy and discoveries in interdisciplinary subjects.

As a result, Dr. Gruen, now 98 years-old has continued his lifelong commitment to science by actively funding the building and demonstration of his graphene-based Dirac solar cell technology in collaboration with the University of Illinois in Chicago. Dr. Gruen believes that humanity will need to face the existential questions presented by climate change. This motivating belief has led to his research making solar electricity efficient and cost effective; a crucial perspective to ensure energy is affordable while also generating reliable, renewable energy to address climate change.

For these accomplishments and many more, we wholeheartedly submit Dr. Dieter Martin Gruen for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His lifelong contribution to science and alternative energy technology is exemplarily and his work continues through today. Dr. Gruen’s tireless efforts to solve future clean energy challenges presented by climate change is seldom exhibited by an individual. Humble and unpretentious, Dr. Gruen has and remains the embodiment of a dedicated American and pure scientist.

Dr. Gruen’s story is the story of many immigrant Americans. Those who left behind places of persecution, discrimination, and lack of opportunity for a brighter future. Those who arrived on our shores and helped build our nation through their hard-work, courageous spirit, unyielding dedication, and personal sacrifice.

In your Administration’s effort to restore the United States’ faith in our scientists, as well as our credibility as an international leader on climate change, we ask for your careful and expeditious consideration of Dr. Gruen for the nomination of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his exceptional contribution to science, innovation in alternative energy and the national security interests of the United States.

 

Sincerely,                    

 

 

 

Sean Casten                                        Bill Foster                           French Hill

Member of Congress                           Member of Congress         Member of Congress

 

 

Cheri Bustos

Member of Congress

 

 

Jerry McNerney

Member of Congress