Awards

Since 1886, the National Academy of Sciences has honored outstanding achievement in the physical, biological, and social sciences through its awards program.

Announcements

  • In Memoriam: Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh
    Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, the 1984 recipient of the NAS Public Welfare Medal, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and one of the nation's most influential figures in higher education, the Catholic Church, and national and international affairs, died on February 26, 2015. Father Hesburgh was honored with the Public Welfare Medal – the NAS's most prestigious honor for “his deep understanding of the importance of science in the contemporary world and his effective advocacy of the application of science and technology in dealing with critical societal problems.” Read More  

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson Awarded 2015 NAS Public Welfare Medal
    The National Academy of Sciences honors Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History with the Public Welfare Medal – the Academy’s most prestigious award. Tyson is recognized for his extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science, from atoms to the Universe. Read More  

  • NAS Announces Award Recipients in Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    The National Academy of Sciences will honor four individuals with awards in recognition of their extraordinary scientific achievements in a variety of fields in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Read More  

  • Academy Honors Three for Major Contributions in Earth and Space Sciences
    The National Academy of Sciences will honor three individuals with awards in recognition of their extraordinary scientific achievements in a variety of fields in the Earth and space sciences. Read More  

  • NAS Announces Award Recipients in Neuroscience, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
    The National Academy of Sciences will honor four individuals with awards in recognition of their extraordinary scientific achievements in a variety of fields in neuroscience, psychological and cognitive sciences. Read More  

  • NAS Announces Award Recipients in the Physical Sciences and Engineering
    The National Academy of Sciences will honor six individuals with awards in recognition of their extraordinary scientific achievements in a variety of fields in the physical sciences and engineering. Read More  

  • Video Online - Awards Ceremony
    Watch the recorded webcast of the Awards Ceremony from the 151st Annual Meeting honoring the 2014 NAS award recipients. Read More 

Featured Award

Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics

Alexander Hollaender
Alexander Hollaender

The Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics is presented every three years and carries with it a $20,000 prize. The Award recognizes outstanding contributions made to the field of biophysics. Henrietta W. Hollaender established the Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics in honor of her husband, Alexander W. Hollaender, whom brought to prominence the field of photobiology. With an interest in the lethal and mutagenic effects of monochromatic ultra-violet radiation on cells, Dr. Hollaender identified the first clear indication that changes in nucleic acids needed to be analyzed, rather than proteins.

The Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics was first awarded in 1998 to Wayne A. Hendrickson for his contributions to macromolecular crystallography, specifically his development of robust methods of phasing and refinement, and determination of complex and biologically important structures.  Dr. Hendrickson is best known for his work pioneering multi-wavelength anomalous diffraction (MAD) and its use as an analytical tool for protein crystallography.


Pictured left to right: NAS President Ralph Cicerone, King-Wai Yau and Jane S. Richardson

King-Wai Yau, professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is the most recent recipient of the Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics. Yau is the major contributor of innovative and fundamental biophysical experiments and analyses that have transformed our understanding of how the signals from light and odor are recorded and relayed to the brain. As well as detailing specific, often surprising, molecular pathways and mechanisms, this has included identifying the non-image visual pigment systems responsible for light-entrainment of the circadian rhythm and explaining the factors that limit the possible wavelength range of vision in vertebrates.

 

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