Since 1886, the National Academy of Sciences has honored outstanding achievement in the physical, biological, and social sciences through its awards program.
NAS Honors Award Winners
During a ceremony at its 150th annual meeting, the National Academy of Sciences presented 17 individuals with awards in recognition of their outstanding scientific achievements in a wide range of fields spanning the physical, biological, and social sciences.
2013 Awards Presentation, Public Welfare Medal Awarded to Bill and Melinda Gates
During its 150th annual meeting, the NAS presented the 2013 Public Welfare Medal to Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs and trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, "for improving the lives of millions by applying science to some of the world's most difficult global health challenges." The NAS honored 18 other individuals as well for their outstanding scientific achievements.
New Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
The NAS has received a gift of $3.5 million to establish the National Academy of Sciences Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences. Beginning in 2014, the $200,000 prize will be given biennially to an individual (or may be shared by two individuals) responsible for significant advances in the psychological and cognitive sciences with important implications for formal and systematic theory in these fields. Read More »
Richard Lounsbery Award
The Richard Lounsbery Award recognizes extraordinary scientific achievement in biology and medicine by young American and French scientists. In addition to honoring scientific excellence, the award is intended to stimulate research and encourage reciprocal scientific exchanges between the United States and France.
First awarded in 1979 to Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein for their work in cholesterol biosynthesis, the Richard Lounsbery Award has been at the forefront of recognizing some of the most significant discoveries in the biomedical sciences by leading U.S. and French researchers. The Lounsbery Award has been the precursor to nine Lasker Awards (Brown and Goldstein, 1985; Leder, 1987; Gilman, 1989; Blobel, 1993; Prusiner, 1994; Rothman, 2002; Chambon, 2004; Greider, 2006), and eight recipients of the Lounsbery Award have received the Nobel Prize (Brown and Goldstein, 1985; Gilman and Rodbell, 1994; Prusiner, 1997; Blobel, 1999; Axel, 2004; Greider, 2009).
This year, the Richard Lounsbery Award will be presented to an American recipient, Dr. Karl Deisseroth, for pioneering the technology called optogenetics in which insertion of a single bacterial protein into a neuron allows exquisite control of the neuron with light. Deisseroth’s technology enables precise control of neural activity at the millisecond timescale in awake and freely-moving animals. His approach has been adopted by thousands of scientists around the world. Deisseroth is now using optogenetics in landmark studies of both normal and diseased nervous systems to understand how altered neural information processing underlies behavioral dysfunction in neuropsychiatric diseases such as depression, anxiety, and Parkinson’s disease.
The Richard Lounsbery Award was established by Vera Lounsbery in honor of her husband, Richard Lounsbery, and is supported by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation. The award is administered jointly by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the French Academy of Sciences. The 2014 award will be given to a French scientist.
Pictured: The vermeil medal presented to the recipient of the Richard Lounsbery Award bears the seal of the National Academy of Sciences and the seal of the French Academy of Sciences.