Patrick, Ruth, National Medal of Science, 1996
Vial of diatoms (unicellular plants that indicate water conditions)
"I have used the composition of diatom communities, which are unicellular
plants with siliceous walls, to determine past and present water
conditions, and from this information to predict trends, particularly as regards pollution, which may take place in these bodies of water. Diatoms are of great use, not only in determining past conditions but also present conditions and predict future trends. I felt that they were important organisms to pass onto the future."