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All Medals banner small

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


  • Jane Lubchenco to Receive 2017 Public Welfare Medal
    Lubchenco, a renowned environmental scientist and marine ecologist, will receive the 2017 Public Welfare Medal to honor her "successful efforts in bringing together the larger research community, its sponsors, and the public policy community to focus on urgent issues related to global environmental change.” The medal is the Academy's most prestigious award, established in 1914 and presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. Read More 

  • NAS Announces 2017 Award Recipients
    The NAS honors 22 individuals with awards in recognition of their extraordinary scientific achievements in a wide variety of fields. The awards will be presented on Sunday, April 30th, during the Academy's 154th annual meeting. Read More 

Featured Award

J. Lawrence Smith Medal

The J. Lawrence Smith Medal is awarded every three years for investigations of meteoric bodies. J. Lawrence Smith began collecting meteorites in the early 1850s. By 1880 he had again amassed a collection containing material from over 250 falls. Harvard University purchased his collection for $8,000. In 1883, Smith’s widow, Sarah Julia Smith, donated these funds to the NAS to establish the J. Lawrence Smith Medal – the first medal ever presented by the NAS.

The most recent J. Lawrence Smith medal was presented in April 2015 to Hiroko Nagahara, professor in the department of earth and planetary science at the University of Tokyo. Nagahara was honored for her work on chondrites, the most abundant type of meteorite. Nagahara introduced condensation and evaporation experiments into chondrite science, successfully condensing minerals that are known to form chondrites, such as silicate and metallic iron. In later theoretical and experimental work, Nagahara and colleagues elucidated the processes underlying condensation and evaporation in the early solar nebula, deepening our understanding of how Earth and the solar system formed. Read more about Nagahara's work

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