Caltech bioengineer selected for high honor

La Cañada resident and Caltech bioengineer Frances Arnold has been selected for induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for her pioneering work in bioengineering and directed evolution, Caltech announced this week.

Arnold, a co-inventor on more than 300 U.S. patents, is being specifically recognized for her work on the directed evolution of enzymes. One of 15 recipients of this year's honor, she will be recognized at a May 21 induction ceremony at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va.

The award is one more in a string of internationally recognized honors. In 2011, Arnold was the first woman in history to receive the Draper Prize, one of the top global engineering honors. The following year, she was one of 11 recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, presented by President Barack Obama.

Last March, she was named Woman of the Year by the California Legislative Women's Caucus for her contributions to California.

Arnold also has the distinction of being one of only eight scientists — and the only woman — elected to serve concurrently on the National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.

This year's list of inductees also includes actress Hedy Lamarr, who played an integral role in developing a frequency hopping communications system that reduced the detection and jamming of radio-controlled torpedoes in World War II. Lamarr died in 2000 at age 85.

For more information on the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and this year's inductees, visit


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