Recent Prizes and Prizewinners
Maxine Hong Kingston (University of California, Berkeley)
Talcott Parsons Prize
Robert D. Putnam (Harvard University)
Louise Henry Bryson (Public Media Group of Southern California)
Nancy C. Andrews (Boston Children’s Hospital)
Francis Amory Prize
First awarded in 1940, this prize was established by a bequest made in 1912 by Francis Amory to recognize significant scientific advances in reproductive biology and medical care. Recipients of the Francis Amory Prize include Karl Sune Detlof Bergström, Eugene M. Bricker, Min Chueh Chang, Justin L. Cordonnier, Frederic B. Foley, David L. Garbers, Harry Goldblatt, Peter N. Goodfellow, Alexander Benjamin Gutman, Geoffrey Wingfield Harris, J. Hartwell Harrison, Charles Brenton Huggins, David M. Hume, Elwood Vernon Jensen, Willem Johan Kolff, Ernest Laqueur, Henry Lardy, Ruth Lehmann, Choh Hao Li, Robin H. Lovell-Badge, Mary Frances Lyon, Thaddeus R. R. Mann, Guy Frederic Marrian, Joseph Francis McCarthy, John P. Merrill, Barbara Jean Meyer, Benjamin F. Miller, Terence J. Millin, Beatrice Mintz, Carl Richard Moore, Joseph E. Murray, Warren O. Nelson, Susumu Ohno, David C. Page, George Nicholas Papanicolaou, Eugene F. Poutasse, Gertrud M. Schüpbach, George W. Thorn, Hans Henriksen Ussing, Selman Abraham Waksman, Frederick J. Wallace, Patrick C. Walsh, Lawson Wilkins, Howard Guy Williams-Ashman, Jean D. Wilson, and Hugh Hampton Young.
Award for Excellence in Public Policy and Public Affairs
Presented for the first time in 2018, this award recognizes demonstrated excellence, independence, effectiveness, and work on behalf of the greater good in the fields of public policy and public affairs. Recipients of the Award for Excellence in Public Policy and Public Affairs include Marian Wright Edelman and Ernest J. Moniz.
Distinguished Leadership Award
First awarded in 2016, the Distinguished Leadership Award recognizes individuals who exemplify a legacy of leadership and dedication to the founding ideals of the American Academy. Recipients of the Distinguished Leadership Award include Louise Henry Bryson, Jonathan F. Fanton, Nannerl Overholser Keohane, Jerrold Meinwald, Carl H. Pforzheimer III, Don M. Randel, Geraldine L. Richmond, David M. Rubenstein, and Diane P. Wood.
The Emerson-Thoreau Medal was established in 1958 to give special recognition to distinguished achievement in the broad field of literature. The prize is awarded to a person for their total literary achievement rather than for a specific work. Recipients of the Emerson-Thoreau Medal include Hannah Arendt, Margaret Atwood, Saul Bellow, Henry Beston, Mark Van Doren, Thomas Stearns Eliot, James T. Farrell, Robert Frost, Joseph Wood Krutch, Norman Mailer, Samuel Eliot Morison, Toni Morrison, Lewis Mumford, Katherine Anne Porter, John Crowe Ransom, I. A. Richards, Philip Roth, Robert Penn Warren, and Edmund Wilson. The recipient of the 2022 Emerson-Thoreau Medal is Maxine Hong Kingston.
Established in 2005 on the occasion of the 225th anniversary of the Academy’s founding, this award honors individuals and institutions that have advanced the ideals of the Founders of the Academy. Recipients embody the spirit of the Founders: a commitment to intellectual inquiry, leadership, and active engagement. Recipients of the Founders Award include Robert J. Birgeneau, John H. Bryan, Richard J. Franke, John L. Hennessy, George Lucas, Jack Peltason, and Don M. Randel. The recipient of the 2023 Founders Award is Louise Henry Bryson.
Don M. Randel Award for Humanistic Studies
The Award for Humanistic Studies was established in 1975 by the Council of the Academy to acknowledge superior humanistic scholarship and raise its visibility with the general reading public. The award complements the Emerson-Thoreau Medal for achievement in literature. In 2017, the award was renamed in honor of musicologist Don M. Randel, Chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors from 2013–2017. Recipients of the Award for Humanistic Studies include Meyer Abrams, Kenneth Burke, Denis Donoghue, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Martha Craven Nussbaum, Helen Vendler, and Jean-Pierre Vernant.
Established in 1839, the Rumford Prize is one of the oldest scientiﬁc prizes in the United States. This prize recognizes contributions to the ﬁelds of heat and light, broadly interpreted. Recipients of the Rumford Prize include Charles Greeley Abbot, Edward Goodrich Acheson, John A. Ball, Ernst Bamberg, C. C. Bare, Alan H. Barrett, Carl Barus, Charles L. Bennett, Hans Albrecht Bethe, Ira Sprague Bowen, Edward Boyden, Percy Williams Bridgeman, Norman W. Broten, Charles Francis Brush, Bernard F. Burke, Federico Capasso, Joseph C. Carter, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, R. M. Chisholm, Alfred Cho, Alvan Clark, Carry G. Clark, William Weber Coblentz, Marshall H. Cohen, William David Coolidge, Samuel Cornette Collins, Arthur Holly Compton, Karl Taylor Compton, George Henry Corliss, James Madison Crafts, Patricia P. Crowther, Charles Gordon Curtis, Hans Georg Dehmelt, Karl Deisseroth, Martin Deutsch, Robert Henry Dicke, John William Draper, Sidney D. Drell, Thomas Alva Edison, John Ericsson, George Feher, Enrico Fermi, James Franck, John A. Galt, Josiah Willard Gibbs, Herbert P. Gush, George Ellery Hale, Robert Hare, George Russell Harrison, Joseph Harrison, Jr., Edmund Newton Harvey, Peter Hegemann, Vernon Willard Hughes, Frederic Eugene Ives, Herbert E. Ives, David L. Jauncey, Joseph J. Katz, James Edward Keeler, Kenneth I. Kellerman, Willis E. Lamb, Jr., Edwin Herbert Land, Samuel Pierpont Langley, Irving Langmuir, Thomas H. Legg, Robert B. Leighton, Jack L. Locke, Frank J. Low, Theodore Lyman, John C. Mather, William David McElroy, Charles W. McLeish, Charles Edward Mees, Albert Abraham Michelson, Gero Miesenböck, Robert Mills, James M. Moran, Jr., Georg Nagel, Edward Leamington Nichols, Ernest Fox Nichols, James R. Norris, Sam Nunn, Lars Onsager, William J. Perry, Edward Charles Pickering, John Stanley Plaskett, Norman Foster Ramsey, Roger S. Richards, Alan E. E. Rogers, Bruno Rossi, Henry Augustus Rowland, Henry Norris Russell, Lewis Morris Rutherford, Maarten Schmidt, Harlow Shapley, George P. Shultz, Joel Stebbins, Elihu Thomson, Charles Hard Townes, Daniel Treadwell, Cornelis B. Van Niel, George Wald, Gregorio Weber, E. Bright Wilson, Robert Williams Wood, Chen Ning Yang, Jul Lin Yen, and Vladimir Kosma Zworykin.
Sarton Award for Poetry
Presented for the ﬁrst time in 2008, the Sarton Award for Poetry recognizes emerging poets of exceptional promise. The award was established by a fund created by Academy Fellow May Sarton, a poet, novelist, and teacher who encouraged the work of young poets during her lifetime. Recipients of the Sarton Award for Poetry include Arda Collins, Matthew Dickman, Dawn Lundy Martin, dg nanouk okpik, Meghan O’Rourke, Vanesha Pravin, and Matthew Zapruder.
Sarton Prize for the History of Science
Presented for the ﬁrst time in 1999, the Sarton Prize for the History of Science recognizes early-career historians of science whose work demonstrates exceptional promise. It was established by a fund created by Academy Fellow May Sarton to honor the memory of her father, Academy Fellow George Sarton, a preeminent leader in the ﬁeld of history of science. Recipients of the Sarton Prize for the History of Science include Melinda Baldwin, Jenny Bulstrode, and Cristina Chimisso.
The Scholar-Patriot Award, established in 2000, recognizes the extraordinary contributions of individuals who share the commitment of the Academy’s Founders, a group of patriots who devoted their lives to promoting the arts and sciences in service to the nation. Recipients of the Scholar-Patriot Award include Leo L. Beranek, Louis W. Cabot, William T. Golden, Edward M. Kennedy, Yo-Yo Ma, and Morton L. Mandel. The recipient of the 2023 Scholar-Patriot Award is Nancy C. Andrews.
Talcott Parsons Prize
First awarded in 1974, this prize was established to honor the noted sociologist and former president of the Academy. The Talcott Parsons Prize is awarded for contributions to the social sciences, broadly deﬁned. Recipients of the Talcott Parsons Prize include Daniel Bell, Robert Dahl, Clifford Geertz, Joseph H. Greenberg, Albert Hirschman, Daniel Kahneman, William Labov, Robert K. Merton, Joan Wallach Scott, William Julius Wilson, and C. Vann Woodward. The recipient of the 2022 Talcott Parsons Prize is Robert D. Putnam.