About the Award

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.

Ben Santer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and University of California, Los Angeles, received the 2024 John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science.

Santer is widely recognized for his leading work linking modern climate change to human activities.

2024 John J. Carty Award, Santer social

Over a more than 30-year career, Santer has pioneered new approaches to identify human influence on climate change, investigating atmospheric temperature and water vapor, ocean heat content, sea surface temperature in hurricane formation regions, changes in the seasonal cycle of temperature, and many other climate variables. The research findings from these studies have shown that distinctive “fingerprints” caused by human activities are now ubiquitous in Earth’s climate system.

Watch Santer’s acceptance speech.

Award History

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.

Previous recipients of the John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science continue to achieve outstanding advancements in their fields. Eight recipients have been honored with a National Medal of Science, and 10 recipients have received a Nobel Prize in Physics (Bragg 1915; Townes 1964; Gell-Mann 1969; Taylor 1993), in Chemistry (Langmuir 1932; Bertozzi 2022), in Medicine (Watson 1962), in Economics (Ostrom 2009), and in Economic Sciences (Milgrom 2020; Wilson 2020).

Most Recent Recipient
Ben Santer, 2024 John J. Carty Award
Ben Santer
2024 (climate)
Call for Nominations

Awards will be presented in a variety of fields including biophysics, astronomy, microbiology, medical sciences, and more.

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Award Types

Previous Award Recipients

Barney S. Graham
2022 (infectious diseases)
Carolyn R. Bertozzi
2020 (physical sciences)
David M. Kreps, Paul R. Milgrom, and Robert B. Wilson
2018 (economics)
Michael Goddard and Theodorus Meuwissen
2016 (agricultural sciences)
Joseph L. DeRisi
2014 (genome biology)
Michael I. Posner
2012 (cognitive science)