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US Academy honors 15 for major contributions to science

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has chosen 15 scientists to receive awards for 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:

The John J. Carty Award FOR The Advancement Of Science, established by the American Telephone & Telegraph Co., annually awarded for noteworthy and distinguished accomplishment in any field of science (computational science in 2006) – goes to Russel 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 carries a medal and a prize of $ 25,000.

Gibbs Brothers Medal, awarded every three years for outstanding contribution to naval architecture and marine engineering, goes to Donald Liu, retired executive vice president and CTO, 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 award carries a medal and prize of $20,000.

NAS Award for Behavioral Research Relevant to the Prevention of Nuclear War, carrying $ 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 promote understanding of the risk of nuclear war – goes to Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics, Columbia University, New York City. Jervis was chosen "for showing, scientifically and in policy terms, how cognitive psychology, politically contextualized, can illuminate strategies f or the avoidance of nuclear war."

NAS Award in Chemical Sciences, supported by The Merck Company Foundation, carrying a medal and prize of $15,000, is awarded annually for innovative research in the chemical sciences that contributes to the better understanding of the natural sciences and to the benefit of humanity. The 2006 awardee is 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."

NAS Award for Initiatives in Research, established by AT&T Bell Laboratories and supported by Lucent Technologies, carrying a prize of $15,000 awarded annually to recognize innovative young scientists and research with potential for new capabilities for human benefit (condensed matter/material science in 2006) – is awarded to David Goldhaber-Gordon, deputy director of the NSF-Stanford-IBM Center for Probing the Nanoscale and assistant professor of physics, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. Goldhaber-Gordon was chosen "for his fundamental studies of electron correlations in mesoscopic structures."

NAS Award in Molecular Biology, an annual award carrying a medal and a prize of $ 25,000. for a recent notable discovery in molecular biology by a young scientist – goes to Ronald R. Breaker, of 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."

NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing, an annual award of $ 10,000 for excellence in scientific reviewing within the past 10 years (environmental science in 2006) – goes to Peter Vitousek, 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."

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 Sabeena 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."

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."

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."

Troland Research Awards, an annual research award of $50,000 to each of two recipients to recognize unusual achievement 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."

G.K. Warren Prize– a prize of $10,000 awarded every four years for notable 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."

NAS Public Welfare Medal will go to Normal R.Augustine, retired chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Md., 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.

The National Academy of Sciences, established in 1863, is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare


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