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


  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Convergence Research: Nomination Deadline – June 30, 2015
    Presented to recognize significant advances in convergence research -- the integration of two or more of the following disciplines: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biomedicine, biology, astronomy, earth sciences, engineering, and computational science -- for achievements possible only through such integration. The inaugural prize will be awarded to an individual or a group for convergence research that benefits human health. Nomination Deadline: June 30, 2015. Read More  

  • 2016 NAS Awards: Nominations Now Open
    Nominations are now being accepted for NAS Awards to be presented in 2016. Unless otherwise noted, nominations must be submitted by 11:59 pm EDT on Thursday, October 1, 2015. Read More  

  • 2015 NAS Awards Ceremony: Video Available
    In 2015, the NAS honored 18 individuals with awards in recognition of their extraordinary scientific achievements in a variety of fields. The winners, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, recipient of the 2015 NAS Public Welfare Medal, were honored during the National Academy of Sciences' 152nd annual meeting. Watch Video  

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson Awarded 2015 NAS Public Welfare Medal
    The National Academy of Sciences honors Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History with the Public Welfare Medal – the Academy's most prestigious award. Tyson is recognized for his extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science, from atoms to the Universe. Read More  

Featured Award

Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics

Alexander Hollaender
Alexander Hollaender

The Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics is presented every three years and carries with it a $20,000 prize. The Award recognizes outstanding contributions made to the field of biophysics. Henrietta W. Hollaender established the Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics in honor of her husband, Alexander W. Hollaender, whom brought to prominence the field of photobiology. With an interest in the lethal and mutagenic effects of monochromatic ultra-violet radiation on cells, Dr. Hollaender identified the first clear indication that changes in nucleic acids needed to be analyzed, rather than proteins.

The Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics was first awarded in 1998 to Wayne A. Hendrickson for his contributions to macromolecular crystallography, specifically his development of robust methods of phasing and refinement, and determination of complex and biologically important structures.  Dr. Hendrickson is best known for his work pioneering multi-wavelength anomalous diffraction (MAD) and its use as an analytical tool for protein crystallography.

Pictured left to right: NAS President Ralph Cicerone, King-Wai Yau and Jane S. Richardson

King-Wai Yau, professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is the most recent recipient of the Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics. Yau is the major contributor of innovative and fundamental biophysical experiments and analyses that have transformed our understanding of how the signals from light and odor are recorded and relayed to the brain. As well as detailing specific, often surprising, molecular pathways and mechanisms, this has included identifying the non-image visual pigment systems responsible for light-entrainment of the circadian rhythm and explaining the factors that limit the possible wavelength range of vision in vertebrates.


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