News from the National Academy of Sciences

January 17, 2018


Academy Honors 19 for Major Contributions to Science

WASHINGTON — The National Academy of Sciences will honor 19 individuals with awards in recognition of their extraordinary scientific achievements in a wide range of fields spanning the physical, biological, and medical sciences.

Dean Roemmich, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, will receive the Alexander Agassiz Medal for his leadership in understanding the ocean’s roles in climate variability and change. The medal is presented with $20,000 prize.

Barbara Dosher, University of California, Irvine, and Richard M. Shiffrin, Indiana University, will receive Atkinson Prizes in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences. Dosher is recognized for her groundbreaking work on human memory, attention, and learning. Shiffrin is honored for pioneering contributions to the investigation of memory and attention. Each recipient will receive a $100,000 prize. 

Günter Wagner, Yale University, will receive the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal for his book “Homology, Genes, and Evolutionary Innovation,” which makes fundamental contributions to our understanding of the evolution of complex organisms. The medal is presented with $20,000 prize.

Mark E. Hay, Georgia Institute of Technology, will receive the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal for his research into algal science, with implications for the world’s imperiled coral reefs. The medal is presented with $50,000 prize. 

Kevin D. McKeegan, University of California, Los Angeles, will receive the J. Lawrence Smith Medal for discoveries related to the oxygen isotopic composition of the sun. The medal is presented with $50,000 prize.

Ewine F. van Dishoeck, Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, and Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, will receive the James Craig Watson Medal for improving our understanding of how molecules, stars, and planets form. The medal is presented with a $25,000 prize, and $50,000 to support the recipient’s research.

James P. Allison, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, will receive the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal for important medical discoveries related to the body’s immune response to tumors. The medal is presented with a $25,000 prize, and $50,000 to support the recipient’s research.

David M. Kreps, Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Paul R. Milgrom, Stanford University, and Robert B. Wilson, Stanford University Graduate School of Business, will receive the John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science for using game theory to help solve real-world problems. The recipients will share a $25,000 prize.

Adriaan Bax, National Institutes of Health, will receive the NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing for contributions that have greatly impacted the field of structural biology. The award is presented with a $20,000 prize.

Jennifer A. Doudna, University of California, Berkeley, will receive the NAS Award in Chemical Sciences for co-inventing the technology for efficient site-specific genome engineering using CRISPR/Cas9 nucleases. The award is presented with a $15,000 prize.

Howard Y. Chang, Stanford University School of Medicine, will receive the NAS Award in Molecular Biology for the discovery of long noncoding RNAs and the invention of genomic technologies. The award is presented with a $25,000 prize.

Rodolphe Barrangou, North Carolina State University, will receive the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences for his discovery of the genetic mechanisms and proteins driving CRISPR-Cas systems. The award is presented with a $100,000 prize.

Silvia Arber, Biozentrum of the University of Basel and Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland, will receive the Pradel Research Award for her groundbreaking research on the organization and function of circuits regulating motor behavior. Arber will receive a $50,000 research award to support neuroscience research at an institution of her choice.

Marlene R. Cohen, University of Pittsburgh, and Josh McDermott, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will receive Troland Research Awards. Cohen is honored for her pioneering studies of how neurons in the brain process visual information. McDermott is recognized for groundbreaking research into how humans hear and interpret sound. Each recipient is presented with a $75,000 prize to support their research.

Etel Solingen, University of California, Irvine, will receive the William and Katherine Estes Award for pathbreaking work on nuclear proliferation and reducing the risks of nuclear war. The award is presented with a $20,000 prize.

The winners will be honored in a ceremony on Sunday, April 29, during the National Academy of Sciences' 155th annual meeting.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and — with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine — provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

Molly Galvin, Director, Executive Communications
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail: 
Twitter: @theNASciences

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