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


  • Call for Nominations: 2015 NAS Awards
    Nominations are now being accepted for several NAS awards to be presented in 2015. Nominations must be submitted via our online nomination form at, by 11:59 pm EDT, Wednesday, October 1, 2014. 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 

  • NAS Receives $1.5 Million Gift to Establish New Award in the Physical Sciences
    Research Corporation for Science Advancement has made a gift of $1.5 million to the National Academy of Sciences to establish the National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Discovery in honor of RCSA's past president John P. Schaefer. This new $100,000 prize will be given biennially to recognize an accomplishment or discovery in basic research within the past five years. The fields of science for each presentation will rotate from among chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, astronomy, physics, and materials science, with the inaugural award presented in 2015 for a recent discovery in chemistry, biochemistry, or biophysics. Read More 

Featured Award

Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal

The Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal recognizes excellence in published research on marine or freshwater algae. The award is presented every three years and consists of a gold-plated bronze medal and a $50,000 prize.

The Smith Medal was established in March 1968 at the bequest of Helen P. Smith in memory of her husband, Gilbert Morgan Smith. Smith was a renowned botanist, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the first President of the Phycological Society of America.

John B. Waterbury

The Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal was first awarded in 1979 to William R. Taylor for his contributions to the knowledge of the marine algae of Florida, the Caribbean Sea, the Northwestern Atlantic, and the tropical Pacific Oceans. Since then, the medal has been presented to 11 other highly distinguished researchers in marine and freshwater algae.

The most recent the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal was presented to John B. Waterbury in 2012 for his discovery and characterization of planktonic marine cyanobacteria, and viruses that infect them, setting in motion a paradigm shift in our understanding of ocean productivity, ecology, and biogeochemical cycles.

The Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal will be presented in 2015. Submit nomination now

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