Fall 2020 Bulletin: Annual Report

Prizes Awarded by the Academy

Recent Prizes


Margaret Atwood

Emerson-Thoreau Medal

Margaret Atwood (Toronto, Canada) – 2019 recipient

William Labov

Talcott Parsons Prize

William Labov (University of Pennsylvania) – 2019 recipient

All Prizes


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 Bergstroem, 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, 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, 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

Established in 2018, this award is presented to individ­uals for their distinction, independence, effectiveness, and work on behalf of the common good. The inau­gural recipient of the Award for Excellence in Public Policy and Public Affairs is 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 Jonathan F. Fanton, Jerrold Meinwald, and Don M. Randel.

Emerson-Thoreau Medal

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 his or her total literary achievement rather than for a specific work. Recipients of the Emerson-Thoreau Medal include Hannah Arendt, 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 2019 Emerson-Thoreau Medal is Margaret Atwood.

Founders Award

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.

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 was renamed in 2017 in honor of musicologist and former Chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors Don M. Randel. The award complements the Emerson-Thoreau Medal for achievement in literature. Recipients of the Award for Humanistic Studies include Meyer Abrams, Kenneth Burke, Denis Donoghue, Martha Craven Nussbaum, Helen Vendler, and Jean-Pierre Vernant.

Rumford Prize

Established in 1839, the Rumford Prize is one of the oldest scientific prizes in the United States. It recognizes contributions to the fields of heat and light, broadly interpreted. The endowment was created by a bequest to the Academy from Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, in 1797. 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, 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 and distinguished achievement. It 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, 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.

Scholar-Patriot Award

This 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.

Talcott Parsons Prize

First awarded in 1974, this prize was established to honor the noted sociologist and former president of the Academy. It 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, Robert K. Merton, Joan Wallach Scott, William Julius Wilson, and C. Vann Woodward. The recipient of the 2019 Talcott Parsons Prize is William Labov.