Quake expert, AIDS researcher are honored Awards are part of Md. Science Week

A Gaithersburg expert on earthquake engineering and a Silver Spring AIDS researcher have been selected as Maryland's Outstanding Young Engineer and Outstanding Young Scientist for 1996.

The honors, each of which carries a $2,500 cash award, were announced last night during a reception at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. The "Celebrate Science!" event was held as part of Maryland Science Week.


Geraldine Soh Sim Cheok, 35, a civil engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, was recognized for her work on new designs for earthquake-resistant concrete bridge structures.

In a nominating letter, the director of NIST's building and fire research laboratory, Richard N. Wright, said Ms. Cheok's work led to the development of new designs for connecting precast concrete bridge beams and columns. Tests suggest the connections will perform as well as cast-in-place construction during earthquakes. Her designs should also help to reduce the costs of fabricating the components, and the time needed to erect them, he said.


Ms. Cheok received her bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from the University of Maryland in 1983 and 1986. Before joining NIST, she worked for the Federal Highway Administration.

The Outstanding Young Scientist award went to Dr. Robert A. Craigie, 40, a visiting scientist at the National Institutes of Health's laboratory of molecular biology in Bethesda.

Dr. Craigie was recognized for his work revealing how retroviruses such as the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, integrate themselves into the chromosomes of infected cells, turning them into virus production factories.

Techniques he developed at NIST led to assay systems that have enabled scientists around the world to study the viral integration process.

Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, director of Intramural Research at NIH, said Dr. Craigie's work "is expected to open the way" for the design of new anti-viral drugs that would hinder the integration process.

Dr. Craigie received his bachelor's degree in 1978 and his doctorate in 1982, both at the University of London, King's College, in England.

Pub Date: 4/23/96