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 organizations, listed below, which believe that federally funded basic scientific research is the cornerstone of American innovation and essential to our economic growth, health, global competitiveness, and national security. The award recipients were selected by a panel of respected scientists and university research leaders, also listed below.
Reflecting on the award, Representative Cooper said, "We should honor, not mock, scientists. Like the fabled golden goose, today's awardees gave unexpected gifts to mankind. Budget cutbacks must be made, but science should be spared."
Rep. Cooper and other Democratic and Republican Members of Congress who support the Golden Goose Award are expected to speak and hand out the awards at today's ceremony.
Speaking on behalf of the sponsoring organizations, Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, added, "The unexpected benefits of basic research have been huge, a point well-demonstrated by the work of the first Golden Goose awardees."
To read the individual stories of the winning researchers and to learn more about the Golden Goose Award, go to www.goldengooseaward.org.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes the Science family of journals as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide.
Association of American Universities (AAU): The Association of American Universities is a nonprofit association of 59 leading U.S. public and private nonprofit research universities and two Canadian counterparts. Founded in 1900, AAU today AAU today focuses on issues that are important to research-intensive universities, such as funding for research, research policy issues, and graduate and undergraduate education. AAU member universities are on the leading edge of innovation, scholarship, and solutions that contribute to the nation's economy, security, and well-being.
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (A۰P۰L۰U): Founded in 1887, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities is an association of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and many state public university systems. Its 219 members enroll more than 4.7 million students, award nearly one million degrees annually, and conduct nearly two-thirds of all academic research, totaling more than $34 billion annually. As the nation's oldest higher education association, A۰P۰L۰U is dedicated to excellence in learning, discovery and engagement.
Breakthrough Institute: The Breakthrough Institute is a paradigm-shifting think tank committed to modernizing liberal thought for the 21st Century. Our core values are integrity, imagination and audacity. Our goal is to accelerate the transition to a future where all the world's inhabitants can enjoy secure, free, prosperous, and fulfilling lives on an ecologically vibrant planet. Progressive Policy Institute (PPI): The Progressive Policy Institute is an independent, innovative and high-impact D.C.-based think tank founded in 1989. As the original "idea mill" for President Bill Clinton's New Democrats, PPI has a long legacy of promoting break-the-mold ideas aimed at economic growth, national security and modern, performance-based government. Today, PPI's unique mix of political realism and policy innovation continues to make it a leading source of pragmatic and creative ideas. PPI is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization.
Richard Lounsbery Foundation: The Richard Lounsbery Foundation aims to enhance national strengths in science and technology through support of programs in the following areas: science and technology components of key US policy issues; elementary and secondary science and math education; historical studies and contemporary assessments of key trends in the physical and biomedical sciences; and start-up assistance for establishing the infrastructure of research projects.
The Science Coalition (TSC): The Science Coalition is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of the nation's leading public and private research universities. It is dedicated to sustaining strong federal funding of basic scientific research as a means to stimulate the economy, spur innovation, and drive America's global competitiveness.
Task Force on American Innovation: The Task Force is a coalition of businesses and business organizations, scientific societies, and higher education associations founded in 2004 to advocate for greater federal investments for basic research in the physical sciences and engineering. The group focuses on the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, the Department of Defense research budget, the National Institute of Standards and Technology labs at the Department of Commerce, and NASA.
United for Medical Research: United for Medical Research is a coalition of leading research institutions, patient and health advocates, and private industry that have joined together to seek steady increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health.
Other organizations sponsoring the Golden Goose Award include:
Association of American Medical Colleges
American Chemical Society
American Mathematical Society
GOLDEN GOOSE SELECTION COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Bruce Alberts, Professor, University of California, Editor-in-Chief, Science
Wendy Baldwin, President/CEO, Population Reference Bureau
Mel Bernstein, Ph.D., Senior Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education, Northeastern University
Steven J. Fluharty, Ph.D., Senior Vice Provost for Research, University of Pennsylvania
Dennis G. Hall, Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, Vanderbilt University
Sharon L. Hays, Vice President, Office of Science & Engineering, CSC
Leslie Tolbert, Senior Vice President for Research, University of Arizona
Barry Toiv, Association of American Universities
2012 202-408-7500, firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Hill, Rep. Jim Cooper