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


  • Nominate Outstanding Scientists for 2018 NAS Awards
    Nominations are now being accepted online for NAS awards to be presented in 2018. Awards will be presented in a variety of fields including neuroscience, food and agriculture sciences, structural biology, psychology, and many more. Read More 

  • New Award Announced: Michael and Sheila Held Prize 
    The Prize honors research in the areas of combinatorial and discrete optimization, or related parts of computer science, such as the design and analysis of algorithms and complexity theory. This $100,000 Prize was established by the bequest of Michael and Sheila Held, and will be presented annually beginning in 2018. Read More 

  • 2017 NAS Awards Ceremony: Live Webcast 
    The 2017 NAS awards will be presented during a ceremony at the NAS 154th Annual Meeting on Sunday, April 30 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The ceremony will be livestreamed. Read More 

  • Jane Lubchenco to receive 2017 NAS Public Welfare Medal
    Lubchenco, a renowned environmental scientist and marine ecologist, will receive the 2017 Public Welfare Medal to honor her "successful efforts in bringing together the larger research community, its sponsors, and the public policy community to focus on urgent issues related to global environmental change.” The medal is the Academy's most prestigious award, established in 1914 and presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. Read More 

Featured Award

J. Lawrence Smith Medal

The J. Lawrence Smith Medal is awarded every three years for investigations of meteoric bodies. J. Lawrence Smith began collecting meteorites in the early 1850s. By 1880 he had again amassed a collection containing material from over 250 falls. Harvard University purchased his collection for $8,000. In 1883, Smith’s widow, Sarah Julia Smith, donated these funds to the NAS to establish the J. Lawrence Smith Medal – the first medal ever presented by the NAS.

The most recent J. Lawrence Smith medal was presented in April 2015 to Hiroko Nagahara, professor in the department of earth and planetary science at the University of Tokyo. Nagahara was honored for her work on chondrites, the most abundant type of meteorite. Nagahara introduced condensation and evaporation experiments into chondrite science, successfully condensing minerals that are known to form chondrites, such as silicate and metallic iron. In later theoretical and experimental work, Nagahara and colleagues elucidated the processes underlying condensation and evaporation in the early solar nebula, deepening our understanding of how Earth and the solar system formed. Read more about Nagahara's work

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