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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

Alexander Agassiz

Endowed in 1911 by one of the leading scientists of the Challenger Expedition, Sir John Murray, the Agassiz Medal has been awarded to some of the most outstanding oceanographers in all fields since 1913.  Murray established the award to honor his friend, Alexander Agassiz, who served as president of the National Academy of Sciences from 1901 to 1907. The Alexander Agassiz Medal is awarded for an original contribution in the science of oceanography. The medal is presented every three years and carries with it a prize of $15,000. Over the past 100 years the Agassiz Medal has continued to recognize many outstanding oceanographers.

The most recent Alexander Agassiz Medal was presented in April 2013 to David M. Karl, professor of oceanography at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. Karl was honored for his leadership in establishing multidisciplinary ocean-observing systems, for detection of decadal regime shifts in pelagic ecosystems, and for paradigm-shifting insights on biogeochemical cycles in the ocean. Watch Karl's acceptance speech

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