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Utah's researchers and educators are helping the whole world, according to Gov. Mike Leavitt.

Leavitt bestowed silver medallions - the Governor's Medal for Science and Technology - on nine distinguished Utahns Wednesday in a ceremony honoring scientists, industry innovators and science teachers. Recipients included a range of experts, from one of the state's most distinguished paleontologists to a great teacher, from a biochemist to the inventor of artificial diamonds.Utah has "produced more patents than any other state in the country - not proportionately, (but) any other state in the country," the governor said.

Leavitt noted he had recently returned from a trip to Korea and Japan, and the subject of scientific initiative has been on his mind, he said. Science and education form the nucleus of "our competitive advantage in the world," he said.

At a breakfast in Seoul, 50 or 60 of that country's alumni of Utah colleges gathered to meet Leavitt. They were among hundreds of alumni from this state who live in Korea, he said.

The governor was glad to represent Utah there. "They literally view the state as a Mecca of what they need in the future," he said.

Vincent DeCaprio, outgoing chairman of the State Advisory Council on Science and Technology, read citations for the winners. Leavitt then gave those who were present their awards. The handsome proof-bright medals were attached to ribbons, and he hung them around their necks.

Leavitt lauded the winners for their contributions. "Their efforts are helping improve our quality of life and make Utah an even better place to live."

Honored were:

- Dr. Sherman S. Coleman of the University of Utah School of Medicine. DeCaprio said he has had "an extraordinary impact upon the children of Utah for more than 35 years."

- Raymond F. Gesteland, co-chairman of the University of Utah Department of Human Genetics. Internationally renowned in genetics research, Gesteland also has made a series of singular contributions to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the synthesis of protein.

- William Lee Stokes, one of the greatest paleontologists in a state that is noted for its great dinosaur discoveries. In 1939, he and his younger brother found the skeleton of an allosaurus while doing field work in the San Rafael region.

- Linda Powers, Utah State University, director of the National Center for the Design of Molecular Function at USU.

- Tracy Hall, who is "a giant in high-pressure and temperature synthesis," said DeCaprio.

- Ty Robinson, who teaches gifted and talented science, physical geology and earth science at Spanish Fork Intermediate School.

- Kevin T. Jones, who was called an author, lecturer, adjunct assistant professor, editor and friend of the citizens of Utah.

- Errol P. EerNisse, a scientist and entrepreneur who researched the effects of stress or radiation on a slew of devices, including quartz crystal resonators, semiconductors and insulators.

- D. Keith Wilson, executive vice president and co-founder of Dynix, the world's leading library automation company, according to DeCaprio.