NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science

NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science

Scheduled for presentation in 2023 in materials science. More information on how to submit a nomination can be found here. To get awards news straight to your inbox, make sure to sign up for our Connect with Awards newsletter.

About the NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science

Awarded for original scientific work of intrinsic scientific importance and with significant, beneficial applications in industry. The recipient is awarded a $25,000 prize. Established by the IBM Corporation in honor of Ralph E. Gomory.

Most Recent Recipient

Shuji Nakamura, University of California, Santa Barbara, received the 2020 NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science.

Nakamura has achieved world-changing developments in the field of light-emitting diodes. His revolutionary discoveries and commercial development of Gallium nitride LEDs have had enormous impacts on energy efficiency and conservation, reduced consumer and commercial electric costs, and dramatically reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

He is widely recognized for his invention of blue LEDs, new forms of white LEDs, and green LEDs. Together his discoveries have revolutionized many fields of technology, including solid-state lighting, displays, medicine and Blu ray optical storage. His breakthroughs have had application in everything from energy-efficient lighting to displays of all sizes, as well as air and water purification and chemical sensing. Read more about Nakamura's work»


Shuji Nakamura (2020, sustainability)
For his pioneering discoveries, synthesis and commercial development of Gallium nitride LEDs and their use in sustainable solid-state light sources, which are reducing global greenhouse gas emissions while also reducing costs to those adopting this technology.
Read more about Nakamura's work»
Watch Nakamura's acceptance speech»

Robert H. Dennard (2017, computer science)
For seminal contributions in the field of Microelectronics for the invention of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), and CMOS scaling.
Read more about Dennard's work» 
Watch Dennard's acceptance speech»

James C. Liao (2014, bio-energy)
For developing the technologies that enable the production of higher alcohols as drop-in fuel from sugars, cellulose, waste protein, or carbon dioxide. 
Watch Liao's acceptance speech»

H. Boyd Woodruff (2011, agriculture)
For leading the development of multiple antibiotics, vitamin B12, and the avermectins, the latter revolutionizing parasite treatment in livestock and humans.

Robert T. Fraley (2008)
For developing technologies that enabled the production of the world's first transgenic crops.  These modified plants have increased productivity, reduced chemical use, and profoundly changed global agriculture.

Philip Needleman (2005)
For his groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of the metabolism of arachidonic acid in physiology and pathophysiology, which generates prostacyclin and thromboxane.

J. Craig Venter (2002)
For his vision in using expressed sequence tags in genetic analyses, his unique contributions to the sequencing of microbial genomes, and his leadership in mobilizing new methods and resources for sequencing the human genome.

Ralph F. Hirschmann (1999)
For his ingenuity in creative chemical design and synthesis directed to the commercial production of numerous essential pharmaceuticals, such as anti-inflammatory steroids and anti-hypertensive compounds.

John H. Sinfelt (1996)
For his discovery of the principle of bimetallic cluster catalysis and the consequent development of the catalyst widely used in making lead-free gasoline.

Nick Holonyak (1993)
For his profound impact on industry and on the daily lives of the people around the world through his prolific inventions in the area of semiconductor materials and devices, including practical light-emitting diodes.

Carl Djerassi (1990)
While making pioneering contributions to steroid chemistry, he invented the first successful oral contraceptive, then led the team that brought it to market and won its public acceptance.


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