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News & Media

Third Annual Golden Goose Awards Ceremony Honors Researchers Whose Unusual Work Produced Big Results

Eight researchers from several disciplines were celebrated at the third annual Golden Goose Award ceremony for their roles in improving the health of premature infants and in paving the way for the telecommunications and supercomputing revolutions.

The researchers, whose work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the former Atomic Energy Commission, were honored at a ceremony at the Library of Congress. A bipartisan group of Members of Congress helped present their awards. APLU is one of nine founding sponsors of the Golden Goose Awards.

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 studies that have led to major breakthroughs and resulted in significant societal impact. Such breakthroughs 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. Such breakthroughs may also have resulted in economic growth through the creation of new industries or companies.

The awardees are:

  • Larry Smarr, a physicist whose work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on the physics of black hole collisions led him to advance a federal commitment to dramatically enhance U.S. computing power and to foster the development of NCSA Mosaic, the precursor to today’s web browsers.
  • Robert Wilson, Paul Milgrom and R. Preston McAfee, economists whose basic research on game theory and auctions-conducted at Stanford University, Northwestern University and the University of Texas-enabled the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to first auction spectrum licenses in 1994, which helped make possible the telecommunications revolution.
  • Saul Schanberg (deceased), Tiffany Martini Field, Cynthia Kuhn and Gary Evoniuk, scientists at Duke University and the University of Miami whose research, which included massaging rat pups, led to the groundbreaking discovery of the importance of touch to human development and the introduction of massage as a dramatically successful element of treatment for premature infants.

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.

To watch a video about the awardees, read their individual stories, and learn more about the Golden Goose Award, visit www.goldengooseaward.org.

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