Academy honors 15 for major contributions to science

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has selected 15 individuals to receive awards honoring their outstanding scientific achievements. The awards will be presented on April 23 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., during the Academy's 143rd annual meeting. The 2006 awards and recipients are:

JOHN J. CARTY AWARD FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE– a medal and prize of $25,000 awarded annually for noteworthy and distinguished accomplishment in any field of science (computational science in 2006) – goes to RUSSELL F. DOOLITTLE, research professor, department of chemistry and biochemistry and division of biology, University of California, San Diego. Doolittle was chosen "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." The award was established by the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. in honor of John J. Carty and has been awarded since 1932.

GIBBS BROTHERS MEDAL– a medal and prize of $20,000 awarded every three years for outstanding contributions in the field of naval architecture and marine engineering – goes to DONALD LIU, retired executive vice president and chief technology officer, American Bureau of Shipping, Houston. Liu was chosen "for first introducing finite element techniques into ship design and being the driving force behind the revolution in basing classification society rules on scientific principles." The medal was established by a bequest from William Francis Gibbs and his brother, Frederic H. Gibbs, and has been presented since 1965.

NAS AWARD FOR BEHAVIORAL RESEARCH RELEVANT TO THE PREVENTION OF NUCLEAR WAR– a prize of $20,000 awarded every three years for basic research in any field of cognitive or behavioral science that uses rigorous formal and empirical methods to advance our understanding of issues relating to the risk of nuclear war – goes to ROBERT JERVIS, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics, department of political science, Columbia University, New York City. Jervis was chosen "for showing, scientifically and in policy terms, how cognitive psychology, politically contextualized, can illuminate strategies for the avoidance of nuclear war." The award was established by a gift of William and Katherine Estes and has been presented since 1990.

NAS AWARD IN CHEMICAL SCIENCES– a medal and prize of $15,000 awarded annually for innovative research in the chemical sciences that, in the broadest sense, contributes to the better understanding of the natural sciences and to the benefit of humanity – goes to SAMUEL J. DANISHEFSKY, Eugene W. Kettering Chair and director, laboratory for bioorganic chemistry, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and professor of chemistry, Columbia University, New York City. Danishefsky was chosen "for his wide-ranging accomplishments in natural products total synthesis and for his pioneering chemical synthesis of carbohydrates for the development of anticancer vaccines." The award, supported by The Merck Company Foundation, has been presented since 1979.

NAS AWARD FOR INITIATIVES IN RESEARCH– a prize of $15,000 awarded annually to recognize innovative young scientists and to encourage research likely to lead toward new capabilities for human benefit (condensed matter/material science in 2006) – goes to DAVID GOLDHABER-GORDON, deputy director of the NSF-Stanford-IBM Center for Probing the Nanoscale and assistant professor of physics, department of physics, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. Goldhaber-Gordon was chosen "for his fundamental studies of electron correlations in mesoscopic structures." The award, presented since 1981, was established by AT&T Bell Laboratories in honor of William O. Baker and is supported by Lucent Technologies.

NAS AWARD IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY– a medal and prize of $25,000 awarded annually for a recent notable discovery in molecular biology by a young scientist – goes to RONALD R. BREAKER, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Henry Ford II Professor, department of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; and to TINA M. HENKIN, professor, department of microbiology, Ohio State University, Columbus. Breaker and Henkin were chosen "for establishing a new mode of regulation of gene expression in which metabolites regulate the activity of their cognate pathways by directly binding to mRNA." The award is supported by Pfizer Inc and has been presented since 1962.

NAS AWARD FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEWING– a prize of $10,000 awarded annually for excellence in scientific reviewing within the past 10 years (environmental science in 2006) – goes to PETER VITOUSEK, professor, department of biological sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. Vitousek was chosen "for his scholarly and inspirational book and reviews on nitrogen cycling and its role in the evolving patterns of ecosystem productivity and diversity." The award is supported by Annual Reviews Inc., the Institute for Scientific Information, and THE SCIENTIST in honor of J. Murray Luck and has been presented since 1979.

GILBERT MORGAN SMITH MEDAL– a medal and prize of $20,000 awarded every three years for excellence in published research on marine or freshwater algae – goes to SABEEHA MERCHANT, professor of biochemistry, department of chemistry and biochemistry and Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles. Merchant was chosen "for her pioneering discoveries in the assembly of metalloenzymes and the regulated biogenesis of major complexes of the photosynthetic apparatus in green algae." The medal was established by a bequest of Helen P. Smith in memory of her husband and has been presented since 1979.

J. LAWRENCE SMITH MEDAL– a medal and prize of $25,000 awarded every three years for recent original and meritorious investigations of meteoric bodies – goes to KLAUS KEIL, interim dean, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu. Keil was chosen "for his pioneering quantitative studies of minerals in meteorites and important contributions to understanding the nature, origin, and evolution of their parent bodies." The medal was established by a gift of Sarah Julia Smith in memory of her husband and has been presented since 1888.

MARY CLARK THOMPSON MEDAL– a medal and prize of $15,000 awarded every three years to recognize important services to geology and paleontology – goes to STEVEN M. STANLEY, research professor, department of geology and geophysics, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu. Stanley was chosen "for research and leadership in bivalve functional morphology and the macroevolution of disparate animals, including hominids, in the context of Earth's physical and chemical history." The medal was established by a gift of Mary Clark Thompson and has been presented since 1921.

TROLAND RESEARCH AWARDS– a research award of $50,000 given annually to each of two recipients to recognize unusual achievement and to further their research within the broad spectrum of experimental psychology – goes to MARVIN M. CHUN, professor of psychology, interdepartmental neuroscience program and cognitive science program, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; and to FREDERICK M. RIEKE, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and associate professor, department of physiology and biophysics, University of Washington, Seattle. Chun was chosen "for creative use of behavioral, brain-imaging, and neuropsychological evidence to elucidate the interplay of conscious and unconscious processes in perception, memory, and learning." Rieke was chosen "for experimental and theoretical analyses of information coding in the central nervous system and its relation to perception." The Troland Research Awards were established by a bequest from Leonard T. Troland and have been presented since 1984.

G.K. WARREN PRIZE– a prize of $10,000 awarded approximately every four years for a distinguished contribution to fluviatile morphology and closely related aspects of the geological sciences – goes to MICHAEL A. CHURCH, professor, department of geography, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Church was chosen "for his extensive and innovative field and laboratory studies of the morphology and dynamics of natural and managed river channels at a range of scales." The prize was established by a bequest of Emily B. Warren in memory of her father and has been presented since 1969.

Also to be honored at the April 23 ceremony is NORMAN R. AUGUSTINE, retired chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Md., who will be awarded the Academy's PUBLIC WELFARE MEDAL. Augustine was selected "for contributions to the vitality of science in the United States by bringing to industry and government a better understanding of the crucial role that fundamental scientific research must play in our long-term security and economic prosperity." The medal was established to recognize distinguished contributions in the application of science to the public welfare and has been presented since 1914.

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Since 1863, the National Academy of Sciences has served to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.

[ This news release is available at Http://national-academies.org]


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