The Golden Goose Awards — which honor scientists whose research may seem odd, but has had a positive impact on society — recently lauded their first recipients during a ceremony on Capitol Hill.
• Charles Townes, a physicist whose work in the 1950s led to the invention of laser technology, earning him a Nobel Prize in 1954;
• Eugene White, Rodney White, Della Roy and the late Jon Weber, whose study of tropical coral in the 1960s led to the development of bone graft material used in surgery; and
• Martin Chalfie, Roger Tsien, and Osamu Shimomura, whose research, following Shimomura’s work on jellyfish that glow in the dark, led to advances in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
The purpose of the Golden Goose Award is to demonstrate the human and economic benefits of federally funded research by highlighting examples of unusual studies that have led to major breakthroughs and have had a significant impact on society. U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) is the brainchild of the award.
“We should honor not mock scientists. Like the fabled golden goose, today’s awardees gave unexpected gifts to mankind. Budget cutbacks must be made, but science should be spared,” Cooper said in a press release.
Various university, scientific, high-tech and non-profit organizations are sponsors of the award.
Several media organizations also highlighted the awards, including the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times.