Header John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science

Header John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science

The John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science is awarded every two years, to recognize noteworthy and distinguished accomplishments in any field of science within the National Academy of Science’s charter. The award is presented with a medal and a $25,000 prize. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company established the award to honor the memory of their Chief Engineer, Vice President, and general telecommunications innovator, John J. Carty. The Carty Award will be presented in 2016 in the field of agricultural sciences.

In 1932 Carty became both the namesake of the award as well as the first recipient. Carty was  recognized for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of telecommunications. In the absence of a high school degree, Carty was the epitome of the self-made man, teaching himself the technology behind telecommunications and slowly working his way through the industry.  From his self-taught background, Carty made several outstanding contributions to furthering technological advancement in the telephone and telegraph industry. Between 1883 and 1896, Carty received  24 patents for telecommunications, including the battery powered switchboard. He played an instrumental role in establishing the first successful transmission of voice by radio telephone across the Atlantic, the opening of the transcontinental telephone line, and later, the first two-way conversation across the Atlantic.  Carty’s work facilitated the rapid progress and implementation of the telephone network across the United States and overseas. 

Michael Goddard, professorial fellow in animal genetics in the faculty of veterinary and agricultural science at the University of Melbourne, and Theodorus Meuwissen, professor in bioinformatics in the department of animal and aquacultural sciences at Norwegian University of Life Sciences, will jointly receive the 2016 John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science, presented this year in agricultural science.

For the past 10,000 years or so, humans have used selective breeding to domesticate and improve livestock and crop species, from corn to cattle. Animals or plants with desired traits were selected and bred, gradually producing species, breeds, or strains with specific qualities, such as dairy cattle that produce more milk or the many forms of cabbage, from cauliflower to kale. By the late 20th century, genetics promised to enhance this type of breeding by letting people select for specific genetic markers associated with a trait. But this approach proved to be inefficient and only captured a small amount of the genetic variation associated with a trait. Instead, a technique called genomic selection has come to dominate.

The principles of genomic selection come from a landmark paper published in Genetics in 2001 by Goddard and Meuwissen, along with Ben Hayes of La Trobe University in Australia. The trio showed that it should be possible to identify individuals with high genetic value by using thousands of molecular genetic markers covering the entire genome. At the time, genomic technology was inadequate because there was no way to assay animals for thousands of markers at reasonable cost, but, with the development of “SNP chips,” it soon caught up. Genomic selection first became widely adopted in the dairy cattle industry where breeders found that they could identify bulls with high genetic value early in life, rather than waiting years to see if they produced offspring with required traits, saving much time and money. Genomic selection has now been applied to other animal species, such as pigs and poultry, as well as plants, such as cotton, rice, and wheat. And the concepts behind genomic selection have even proved useful in the field of human genetics and the search for predictors of disease.   

Recipients:

Michael Goddard and Theodorus Meuwissen (2016, agricultural sciences)
For the development of genomic selection - uniting quantitative genetic theory with genomics technology - revolutionizing the genetic improvement of livestock and crops. Their research also invigorated genomic prediction, which has far ranging implications for fields from human medicine to conservation biology.

Joseph L. DeRisi (2014, genome biology)
For pioneering efforts to develop new genomic technologies and using the technologies to make discoveries in virology that are of fundamental and practical importance.

Michael I. Posner (2012, cognitive science)
For outstanding contributions to the understanding of spatial attention and for pioneering investigations of the neural basis of cognition using non-invasive functional brain imaging methods.

Andre K. Geim (2010, physics)
for his experimental realization and investigation of graphene, the two-dimensional form of carbon.

Joseph Felsenstein (2009, evolution)
For revolutionizing population genetics, phylogenetic biology, and systematics by developing a sophisticated computational framework to deduce evolutionary relationships of genes and species from molecular data.

Thomas Eisner (2008, ecology)
For pathbreaking studies of the myriad ways that organisms utilize chemistry to mediate ecological interactions and providing a foundation for the field of chemical ecology.

Joseph R. Ecker (2007, plant science)
For contributions in the areas of ethylene signal transduction and Arabidopsis genomics that have paved the way for a revolution in modern agriculture.

Russell F. Doolittle (2006, computational science)
For contributing seminal insights and methods for using computers as an aid to characterizing protein function, in comparing amino acid sequences, and for phylogenetic reconstructions.

Robert J. Cava (2005, materials)
For his outstanding contributions in the synthesis and characterization of many new materials that display interesting and important superconducting, dielectric, magnetic, or thermal properties.

Elinor Ostrom (2004, social/political science)
For her exceptional contributions to the study of social institutions, research that has greatly advanced our understanding of resource management, and the governance of local public economies.

David A. Freedman (2003, statistics)
For his profound contributions to the theory and practice of statistics, including rigorous foundations for Bayesian influence and trenchant analysis of census adjustment.

Donald Lynden-Bell (2000, astronomy/astrophysics)
For his outstanding work in theoretical astrophysics, and especially for the originality of his contributions to our understanding of the collective dynamic effects within stellar systems.

Patrick V. Kirch (1997, anthropology)
For the unique breadth of his distinguished anthropological accomplishments, spanning many Pacific islands and joining their archeology with ethnobotany, ethnobiohistory, historical linguistics, and human biology.

Marina Ratner (1994, mathematics)
For her striking proof of the Raghunathan conjectures.

Joseph H. Taylor, Jr. (1991, physics)
For developing pulsar timing experiments with exquisite accuracy to make fundamental studies of gravitation, including gravitational radiation and high-order tests of general relativity.

Motoo Kimura (1987, evolutionary biology)
By demonstrating the role of stochastic processes in inducing and maintaining most allelic diveristy in nature, he has unified molecular biology with evolutionary theory, thereby strengthening both fields.

Robert H. Burris (1984, agricultural sciences)
For his penetrating studies of the biochemistry of nitrogen fixation have enriched the agricultural sciences by deed and example.

Shing-Tung Yau (1981, mathematics)

John N. Mather (1978, pure mathematics)

J. Tuzo Wilson (1975, earth science)

James D. Watson (1971, molecular biology)

Murray Gell-Mann (1968, theoretical physics)

Alfred H. Sturtevant (1965, biochemistry)

Maurice Ewing (1963, geophysics)

Charles H. Townes (1961, physics)

Vannevar Bush (1953)

Irving Langmuir (1950)

Ross G. Harrison (1947)

William F. Durand (1945)

Edwin G. Conklin (1943)

Sir William Bragg (1939)

Edmund B. Wilson (1936)

John J. Carty (1932)

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