I happened to find that one of the most important inventors of the renormalization group, Kenneth G. Wilson, won the Leroy Randle Grumman Award Medal in 1986, 4 years after his Nobel prize. Details in this site.

This Leroy Randle Grumman Award is obviously related to Leroy Randle Grumman, one of the cofounders of the Grumman company, now part of Northrop Grumman, one of the top defense contractors in the world and is famous for, e.g., the stealth aircraft.

I am curious about this prize for physicists and who the recipients were. However, I couldn't find any more info of this prize except that another applied physicist Petr Ufimtsev, father of stealth technology, won it for his electromagnetic wave diffraction theory.


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Curious award, issued by Northrop Grumman Corp., the common abbreviation seems to be "Grumman medal". Appears to be out of circulation since 1990s. Aside from Wilson (1986) and Ufimtsev (1991), some recipients were Paul Chu (1987), Russell Messier (1987), Burt Rutan (1989), John Huizenga (see p.50) (1991), and Edward Stone (see p.37) (?).

Unfortunately, the sources do not specify what exactly the medal was awarded for, other than "Outstanding Scientific Achievement". Some of the later recipients were involved with aerospace technology. Ufimtsev's acoustic diffraction work was used in Lockheed's stealth fighter F-117. After getting the medal in 1991 he went to work for Grumman Corp. in 1995-2000. Rutan is an aerospace engineer known for designing light, energy-efficient aircraft. Grumman Corp. held a stake in his Scaled Composites (founded in 1982), and acquired it in 2007. Stone worked on Voyager missions since 1972, and was the director of JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab) in 1991-2001. Others do not seem to have a special connection to aeronautics. Wilson was a theoretical particle physicist, Huizenga was an experimental nuclear scientist, Chu is known for his work on superconductors and dielectrics, and Messier for nanomorphology of thin films.

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    $\begingroup$ Wilson, particularly in his role at Cornell's theory center, was a strong proponent of supercomputing advances (which would be of high relevance to aerospace modeling). He had a variety of papers on the topic, as well as things like "Problems in Physics with Many Scales of Length" in Scientific American in 1979. His techniques for renormalization could well be seen to have application to fluid flow modeling for, say, aircraft development. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 14:15

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