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Since 1886, the National Academy of Sciences has honored outstanding achievement in the physical, biological, and social sciences through its awards program.


  • NAS Awards Scheduled for Presentation in 2019
    The NAS will present 18 awards in 2019, recognizing extraordinary scientific achievements in a wide range of fields spanning the physical, biological, and medical sciences. Nominations must be submitted online by Monday, October 1, 2018.  Read more»

Featured Award

NAS Award in Early Earth and Life Sciences—Stanley Miller Medal

Established by the NAS Council in October 2008 by combining two awards into the NAS Award in Early Earth and Life Sciences. The award rotates presentation between the Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal for research on Cambrian or pre-Cambrian life, and the Stanley Miller Medal which recognizes research on Earth's early development as a planet, including prebiotic chemistry and the origin of life; planetary accretion, differentiation, and tectonics; and early evolution of the atmosphere and oceans. Each medal is presented with a $10,000 prize.

James F. Kasting, Evan Pugh University Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University, received the 2016 NAS Award in Early Earth and Life Sciences- Stanley Miller Medal. Kasting has made fundamental insights into this atmospheric evolution through the development of numerical models. The core of his research has been the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. He has calculated the minimum levels of carbon dioxide needed to prevent the planet from freezing into a “Snowball Earth” scenario, for instance. And he and his colleagues have used his models to determine when the planet’s carbon dioxide will run out and its water will be lost, calculating that the Earth will no longer be able to support life in another 2 billion years or less. Kasting’s studies into the evolution of carbon dioxide and other atmospheric gases—such as oxygen, methane, and nitrous oxide—have provided insight into the proliferation of life on the early Earth. He has also made major contributions in the search for life on other planets, including refining the concept of the “habitable zone”—the region around a star where a planet can support liquid water and possibly life. Read more about Kastings's work.»

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