Rice physicist honored by Brazilian government

José Onuchic, the Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Chair of Physics, was recognized by the Brazilian government May 28 with a Diaspora Award. The award recognizes Brazilian citizens living abroad who have excelled in the areas of science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship and contributed to building a positive image of Brazil abroad and the advancement of Brazilian competitiveness.

From left: Award winners Claudio Joazeiro, Cristina Ramos, Marcelo Nóbrega, José Onuchic, Duilia de Mello and Eliseu de Oliveira.

The Diaspora Program was established in 2013 to promote Brazil within the country and throughout the world. The Diaspora Prize was created this year in partnership with the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development, the Ministry of Industrial Development and Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Onuchic, a native of Brazil, has been at Rice since 2011. He was one of six individuals honored for work to make people more knowledgeable about Brazil. The award winners were selected by Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, foreign minister of Brazil; Mauro Borges Lemos, Brazil’s minister of industrial development and foreign trade; and other Brazilian government and business officials.

“I think it’s great that out of many possible names of Brazilians abroad that they chose my name as someone projecting the Brazil name abroad,” Onuchic said. “It’s nice that people in Brazil know of and are recognizing my work.”

Adria Baker, associate vice provost for international education, said that the recognition Onuchic has received for his “excellent work” outside of Brazil brings Rice continued recognition as the university expands research collaborations between Rice and top universities in Brazil. Enhancing research and promoting cultural understanding are among Rice’s Priorities for the New Century.

“José has been such a critical player in the success we are seeing develop,” Baker said. “At the Brasil@Rice Office, we are very grateful for José’s work in helping pave opportunities for Rice faculty and students and are truly thrilled by his award. He is so deserving for many reasons, including his generosity in time and expertise to the core mission of our office and the university.”

For more information on the awards, visit www.diasporabrasil.com.br/premio/SitePages/home.aspx.

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.