ISU Headlines

Former Battelle manager, ISU adjunct receives Bigelow Award

Posted July 9, 2007

The Idaho State University Chapter of Sigma Xi, a national society that supports and honors scientific research, has selected Tommy Ambrose, PhD, as recipient of the 2007 Jerome Bigelow Award.

This award was created in the name of M. Jerome Bigelow, a longtime ISU chemistry department faculty member who was not only an exceptional teacher, but a person who strongly supported research in all scientific disciplines at ISU. In memory of Bigelow, the ISU Chapter of Sigma Xi annually presents the award to a member of the local scientific community who has shown dedication in his or her career to the service of science through research, education or community science outreach.

Ambrose was born in Jerome and attended the University of Idaho, earning a B.S. (1950) and M.S. (1950) in chemical engineering. He began his engineering career by joining the General Electric Company at the Hanford Atomic Operations site in Richland, Wash.  He worked there until 1954 and then entered Oregon State University to earn his PhD in chemical engineering, along with a minor in physics and mathematics in 1957.

Ambrose returned to Hanford, where he rose up through the ranks in G.E., eventually becoming manager of research and engineering at the site. In 1969, he joined Battelle, where he had a successful career, serving in a series of manager and laboratory director positions to the post of vice president of Battelle Memorial Institute from 1979 to 1990. From 1990 to 1996, Ambrose joined the University of California system to serve as special assistant to the president regarding affairs of the Lawrence Berkeley, the Lawrence Livermore and the Los Alamos National Laboratories.

Ambrose has remained an active participant in community and educational affairs, even after his retirement in 1996. He has served on the engineering advisory boards for both the University of Idaho and ISU and was a member of Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s Science and Technology Council. To this date, he stays “on the job” as an adjunct professor of engineering at ISU, running the graduate seminar. Both he and his wife, Shirley, remain active in local community organizations, and are dedicated supporters of Sigma Xi and its goals of scientific outreach.