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


  • 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

NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society

Vladimir Haensel

The NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society is awarded biennially for contributions to chemistry, either in fundamental science or its application, that clearly satisfy a societal need. The award is given in alternate years to chemists working in industry and to those in academia, government, and nonprofit organizations. The award will be presented in 2015 with a $20,000 prize.

The first NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society was awarded in 1991 to Vladimir Haensel (pictured right) for his research in the catalytic reforming of hydrocarbons. Haensel’s engineering breakthrough of the Platforming process helped shape our economy in many ways, from the inexpensive processing of high-grade fuels to the production of plastics in a more environmentally sound way. These advancements have directly and indirectly contributed to many of the world’s industries.

Since 1991 the award has recognized the profound benefits of chemistry to society and how advances in chemistry have led to greater economic wealth and a better quality of life. Two recipients of the NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society have gone on to win a National Medal of Science (Harold S. Johnston 1997; Marvin H. Caruthers 2006) and one recipient has proceeded to win a Nobel Prize (Medicine; Paul C. Lauterbur 2003).

Pictured left to right: NAS President Ralph Cicerone, Edward C. Taylor and Larry Overman

The most recent winner of the NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society was awarded in 2013 to Edward C. Taylor, A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Organic Chemistry Emeritus at Princeton University. Taylor was honored for contributions to heterocyclic chemistry that led to the development of the new-generation antifolate pemetrexed (AlimtaTM). Pemetrexed exhibits unprecedented activity against a variety of solid tumors and is now in use in more than 100 countries. It is approved for the treatment of mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer and is in multiple further clinical trials for a wide range of solid tumors.

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