Eight scientists, including four Nobel Prize winners, will be honored today with the first annual Golden Goose Awards, celebrating researchers whose seemingly odd or obscure federally funded research turned out to have a significant impact on society. The awardees will be honored at a ceremony on Capitol Hill, where they will receive their awards from a bipartisan group of Members of Congress. The scientists are:
- Charles Townes, a physicist whose work in the 1950s led to the invention of laser technology, which at the time had no known application, but without which much of modern technology would be impossible. His work earned him a Nobel Prize in 1964.
- Eugene White, Rodney White, Della Roy, and the late Jon Weber, whose study of tropical coral in the 1960s led serendipitously to the development of an ideal bone graft material that is used commonly in surgery today. (Dr. Roy cannot be present for the ceremony.)
- Martin Chalfie, Roger Tsien, and Osamu Shimomura, whose research, following Dr. Shimomura's work on how certain jellyfish glow in the dark, led to numerous medical research advances and to methods used widely by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. They won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2008. (Dr. Shimomura cannot be present for the ceremony.)
The purpose of the Golden Goose Award is to demonstrate the human and economic benefits of federally funded research by highlighting examples of seemingly obscure or unusual studies that have led to major breakthroughs and have had a significant impact on society. Such breakthroughs may include development of life-saving medicines and treatments; game-changing social and behavioral insights; and major technological advances related to national security, energy, the environment, communications, and public health.
The Golden Goose Award was originally the idea of Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN). It was created and jointly launched by a coalition of organ
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