The Franklin Institute Announces the 2011 Franklin Institute Laureates

November 9, 2010

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Franklin Institute today named seven preeminent trailblazers in science, business and technology whose extraordinary contributions will be recognized and honored during the annual Franklin Institute Awards Ceremony and Dinner on Thursday, April 28, 2011. Six Benjamin Franklin Medals will be presented that evening, with genetic researcher Dr. George Church receiving the $250,000 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science. CBS Sunday Morning anchor Charles Osgood will again serve as host of the black-tie event.

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The Franklin Institute Awards Ceremony and Dinner will also mark the final night of the recently-announced Philadelphia Science Festival. Beginning April 15, this two-week celebration will focus on bringing science education to the community with a series of hands-on activities, special exhibitions, and other informal science education experiences. The 2011 Franklin Institute Awards Week activities will coincide with the final week of the festival, which will uniquely showcase science and scientists in the region. Throughout Awards Week, many past Franklin Institute Awards Laureates will return to Philadelphia joining the 2011 Laureates in a variety of public science festivities leading up to the Awards Ceremony. The 2011 Laureates will take part in a seminar or lecture focusing on their specific area of expertise at various universities throughout the city. These events, most of which are free, provide a rare opportunity to meet, mingle with and “pick the brains” of some of the most exceptional minds in the world.

The rich tradition of the Franklin Institute Awards dates back to 1824. These prestigious awards have been bestowed upon such luminaries as Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marie and Pierre Curie, Orville Wright, and Jane Goodall. In fact, many Franklin Institute Award winners have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize. The contributions of this year’s medalists range from significant advances in genomic science, to the creation of innovative medical devices that have expanded the frontiers of health care worldwide.


George Church, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, PersonalGenomes.org

Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science

For innovative and creative contributions to genomic science, including the development of DNA sequencing technologies, as well as for his subsequent efforts to promote personal genomics and synthetic biology.

K. C. Nicolaou, Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute, University of California, San Diego

Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry

For his achievements in synthetic organic chemistry, particularly for the development of methods for preparing complex substances found in nature, which have potential applications in the field of medicine.

John R. Anderson, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University

Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science

For the development of the first large-scale computational theory of the process by which humans perceive, learn and reason, and its application to computer tutoring systems.

Ingrid Daubechies, Ph.D., Princeton University

Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering

For fundamental discoveries in the field of compact representations of data, leading to efficient image compression as used in digital photography.

Jillian F. Banfield, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science

For discovering the underlying principles of mineral formation and alteration by microbes, which are critical to understanding the form, composition, and distribution of minerals in the presence of living organisms.

Dean Kamen, DEKA Research and Development Corporation

Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering

For his resourcefulness and imagination in creating mechanical devices that broadly benefit society and enable people with disabilities to improve their quality of life and health.

Nicola Cabibbo, Ph.D. (1935-2010), Universita di Roma

Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics

For his fundamental insight into the process by which elementary particles decay through the weak interaction.

The conclusion of these exciting two weeks is the Franklin Institute Awards Ceremony and Dinner. The highlight of this elegant event is the presentation of the medals to the Laureates. Programs like The Franklin Institute Awards, that inspire a passion for learning about science and technology, are made possible by its generous partners. Bank of America continues its leadership support since 2003 as the Presenting Sponsor of the Awards Ceremony and Dinner. For more information including photos, visit http://www2.fi.edu/press/awards/.

About The Franklin Institute

Founded in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is one of America’s oldest and premier centers of science education and development in the country. Today, the Institute continues its dedication to public education and creating a passion for science by offering new and exciting access to science and technology in ways that would dazzle and delight its namesake. Recognizing outstanding achievements in science throughout the world is one important way that the Institute honors its commitment to Benjamin Franklin’s legacy. For more information, please go to www.fi.edu/awards.

SOURCE Franklin Institute

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