Last week marked the passing of two great men of the University of Illinois, one a popular athlete, the other a great scientist. While the news of football player Harold "Red" Grange's death rightly appeared on The Post's front page {Jan. 29}, physicist John Bardeen's obituary {Jan. 31} was consigned to the Metro section. True, the former was a household name, while the latter was a man who spoke in a whisper and shunned the public eye, but John Bardeen did as much to change our everyday lives as Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison.

John Bardeen was the only person ever to win two Nobel Prizes in the same field. Perhaps his greatest achievement was to solve one of the mysteries of modern physics by developing a microscopic theory of superconductivity. As a co-inventor of the transistor, he helped to revolutionize the electronics industry. Look around. Practically every electronic device you see depends on the transistor: the computer, TV, radio, even the car. For these contributions, Mr. Bardeen should be noted as one of the most influential scientists of the 20th cen- tury.

The Post often bemoans the state of science literacy in this country. Part of the solution is to award as much honor to our great scientists as to our great athletes.