John V. Atanasoff Discovery Award

Awarded to alumni of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who have significantly advanced scientific knowledge through laboratory accomplishments and/or management.

The award recognizes the achievements of John V. Atanasoff and graduate student Clifford Berry, who invented the world’s first electronic digital computer. At the time of the discovery, Dr. Atanasoff was a faculty member in Iowa State’s Department of Physics. The computer incorporated several major innovations in computing including the use of binary arithmetic, regenerative memory, parallel processing, and separation of memory and computing functions.


Year Recipient Name ISU Degree(s) and Graduation Year
2021 Kenneth Sufka ’86 Psychology
MS ’88
PhD ’90
2020 Carla M. Koehler ’86 biochemistry
MS ’89 biochemistry and molecular biology
PhD ’95 biochemistry and molecular biology
2019 Gordon Shepherd ’55 zoology
2017 Srinivas Aluru MS ’91 computer science
’94 Ph.D.
2015 Oden L. Warren Ph.D. ’93 physical chemistry
2014 Jun Ye ’91 physics and astronomy
2013 Keith R. Yamamoto ’68 biochemistry
2012 John Ohlfest ’01 biology
2011 John L. Gustafson MS ’80 mathematics
’82 Ph.D.
2010 Tetsuro Motoyama MS ’75 psychology
MS ’76 statisticsPh.D. ’78 psychology and statistics
MS ’83 mathematics
2009 Sallie Keller Ph.D. ’83 statistics
2007 Darleane Hoffman ’48 chemistry
Ph.D. ’51
2006 W. Lynn Watney ’70 geology
MS ’72
2005 Douglas Van Houweling ’65 government