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Academy honors 13 for major contributions to science

WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will honor 13 individuals with awards recognizing extraordinary scientific achievements in the areas of biology, chemistry, solar physics, ecology, mathematics, oceanography, paleontology, social sciences, and psychology.

The awards and recipients for 2008 are:

ARCTOWSKI MEDAL a medal and a prize of $20,000 as well as a gift of $60,000 to an institution of the recipient's choosing, awarded every three years to honor outstanding contributions to the study of solar physics and solar-terrestrial relationships goes to LEONARD F. BURLAGA, astrophysicist, Geospace Physics Laboratory, Heliophysics Science Division, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., "for pioneering studies of the magnetized solar wind plasma from 0.3 to 102 AU, including the recent crossings of the Voyagers of the heliospheric termination shock and their entry in the heliosheath." The medal was established by the bequest of Jane Arctowska and has been awarded since 1969.

JOHN J. CARTY AWARD FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE a medal and a prize of $25,000 awarded annually for noteworthy and distinguished accomplishment in any field of science (ecology in 2008) goes to THOMAS EISNER, J.G. Schurman Professor of Chemical Ecology, department of neurobiology and behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., "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." The award was established by the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. in honor of John J. Carty and has been awarded since 1932.

ARTHUR L. DAY PRIZE AND LECTURESHIP a prize of $20,000 awarded every three years to recognize an individual making lasting contributions to the study of the physics of the Earth goes to STANLEY R. HART, senior scientist emeritus, department of marine geology and geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass., "for development of the new field of 'chemical geodynamics' through the use of the chemical and isotopic signature of mantle-derived samples to map and constrain the dynamical evolution of the Earth's interior." The medal was established by the bequest of Arthur L. Day and has been awarded since 1972.

DANIEL GIRAUD ELLIOT MEDAL a medal and a prize of $15,000 awarded every four years in recognition of a most meritorious, recently published work in zoology or paleontology goes to JENNIFER A. CLACK, professor and curator of vertebrate paleontology, department of zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, U.K., "for studies of the first terrestrial vertebrates and the water-to-land transition, as illuminated in her book GAINING GROUND." The medal was established by gift of Margaret Henderson Elliot and has been awarded since 1917.

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES 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 JOANNE STUBBE, Novartis Professor, departments of chemistry and biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, "for landmark work on the mechanisms and regulation of ribonucleotide reductases, a compelling demonstration of the power of chemical investigations to solve problems in biology." The award, supported by the Merck Company Foundation, has been presented since 1979.

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AWARD FOR THE INDUSTRIAL APPLICATION OF SCIENCE a prize of $25,000 awarded every three years to recognize applications in industry of significant achievements in science goes to ROBERT T. FRALEY, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Monsanto Co., St. Louis, "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." The medal was established by the International Business Machines Corp. in honor of Ralph E. Gomory and has been awarded since 1990.

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AWARD FOR INITIATIVES IN RESEARCH a prize of $15,000 awarded annually to recognize innovative young scientists and to encourage research likely to lead to new capabilities for human benefit (computational science and applied mathematics in 2008) goes to ANNA C. GILBERT, associate professor, department of mathematics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, "for innovative algorithms using wavelets and sampling techniques and their impact on data analysis and sparse approximation." The award, presented since 1981, was established by AT&T Bell Laboratories in honor of William O. Baker, and is supported by Alcatel-Lucent.

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AWARD IN MATHEMATICS a prize of $5,000 awarded every four years for excellence in published mathematical research goes to CLIFFORD H. TAUBES, William Petschek Professor of Mathematics, department of mathematics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., "for groundbreaking work relating to Seiberg-Witten and Gromov-Witten invariants of symplectic 4-manifolds, and his proof of Weinstein conjecture for all contact 3-manifolds." The medal was established by the American Mathematical Society and has been awarded since 1988.

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AWARD IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY a medal and a prize of $25,000 awarded annually for a recent notable discovery in molecular biology by a young scientist goes to ANGELIKA AMON, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and professor, department of biology and David Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, "for groundbreaking studies that have provided insight into the mechanism of the central process of chromosome segregation and the regulation of segregation." The award is supported by Pfizer Inc and has been presented since 1962.

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AWARD FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEWING a prize of $10,000 awarded annually for excellence in scientific reviewing within the past 10 years (social and political sciences in 2008) goes to ALEJANDRO PORTES, Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Sociology, department of sociology, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., "for contributions to the understanding of immigrant and transnational communities through penetrating reviews in the areas of immigration, education, globalization, and social capital." 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.

TROLAND RESEARCH AWARDS annual research awards of $50,000 given to each of two recipients to recognize unusual achievement and to further their research within the broad spectrum of experimental psychology go to MIGUEL P. ECKSTEIN, associate professor, Vision and Image Understanding Laboratory, department of psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, and to ISABEL GAUTHIER, associate professor of psychology, department of psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn. Eckstein was honored "for sophisticated theoretical analysis and modeling that address fundamental issues in perception and cognition and their application to the practical problems of medical imaging." Gauthier was chosen "for seminal experiments on the role of visual expertise in the recognition of complex objects including faces and for exploration of brain areas activated by this recognition." The Troland Research Awards were established by a bequest from Leonard T. Troland and have been presented since 1984.

Also to be honored at the April 27 ceremony is NORMAN P. NEUREITER, director, Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy, American Association for the Advancement of Science, who was chosen to receive the PUBLIC WELFARE MEDAL, THE Academy's most prestigious award. The Academy selected Neureiter for enhancing the status of science and technology in the U.S. State Department as the first science and technology adviser to the secretary of state and for spurring international cooperation in science and technology under U.S. leadership. The medal was established in 1914 to recognize distinguished contributions in the application of science for the public good and is presented annually.


Contact: Maureen O'Leary
The National Academies

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