2013 Winners

HISTORICAL SCHOLARSHIP

CAROLINE WINTERER

Caroline Winterer, a Stanford historian and director of the Stanford Humanities Center, has spearheaded an unusual branch of scholarship that combines traditional biographical techniques with cutting-edge technologies. The award recognizes her for expanding our understanding of an American icon— Ben Franklin. So far Winterer has used the sorts of computer-aided analyses you might expect to see deployed in ecology or information systems to document and map Franklin’s vast web of written correspondence.

This award was presented by Dr. Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution.

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PHYSICAL SCIENCES

JOHN ROGERS

John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, holds scores of patents and is the creative force behind such inventions as computer circuits that stick to the skin like temporary tattoos to monitor temperature and other biological characteristics, and an electronic cap that football players can wear under their helmets to signal a dangerous hit. The award recognizes Rogers’ recent foray into biodegradable devices that he calls “transient electronics”—tiny pumps, wires, monitors and other circuit components that can be implanted in the body and will dissolve away after they’ve done their job.

This award was presented by Regina Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., 18th U.S. Surgeon General (2009-2013).

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EDUCATION

CAROLINE HOXBY

Caroline Hoxby, an education scholar who focuses on economic issues, is being recognized for research illuminating a tragic problem at the heart of the American dream: why so few talented students from poor families attend the best colleges and universities. An endowed professor of economics at Stanford University who is affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Hoover Institution, she led a widely publicized study showing that high-achieving secondary-school students from low-income families were essentially kept in the dark about opportunities at better colleges, and as a result opted to attend less selective institutions.

This award was presented by Claire Shipman, ABC News Correspondent.

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NATURAL SCIENCES

MICHAEL SKINNER

Michael SkInner, a developmental biologist at Washington State University, is being recognized for groundbreaking research showing that man-made chemicals have the potential to affect not only the health of organisms directly exposed to the chemicals but also future generations of those organisms, through a mechanism other than changes in DNA. The finding by Skinner and his colleagues that such chemicals still leave a distinct fingerprint that can be traced through the generations represents a fundamental new insight into the potential insidious impact of environmental toxins on health.

This award was presented by Dr. Carol Geider, 2009 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine.

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YOUTH

SAUMIL BANDYOPADHYAY

Saumil Bandyopadhyay is being recognized for an invention he conceived and executed while in high school: an infrared radiation detector that works at room temperature and is more sensitive than existing detectors of its kind. It promises to be inexpensive and easily manufactured, and has a range of scientific, civilian and military applications. It is truly an ingenious invention, harnessing both nanotechnology and quantum mechanics.

This award was presented by Dr. John Mather, Nobel Laureate and Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope.

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VISUAL ARTS

DOUG AITKEN

Doug Aitken, the Los Angeles-based multimedia artist who in 2012 created the stunning video installation Song1 on the exterior of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum, is being recognized for another large-scale work, Mirror, a permanent piece projected onto the Seattle Art Museum building. A vast mirror like screen, it will display and reflect—sometimes in response to pedestrians, the weather or events inside the building—an astonishing ever-changing series of images and video footage. Mirror is a unique, arresting work that makes innovative use of technology and pushes the boundaries of modern art.

This award was presented by Jeff Koons, a distinguished American artist and designer of the American Ingenuity Award.

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SOCIAL PROGRESS

MIMI LOK AND DAVE EGGERS

Dave Eggers, a novelist, memoirist, publisher and cultural force, and MimI Lok, an arts educator and writer, are being honored together for the Voice of Witness (VOW) project, which creatively uses oral history to bring current human rights crises to life. VOW produces a book series that sheds light on an extraordinary range of human problems, from people displaced by Hurricane Katrina to those persecuted in Sudan and Burma. The award specifically recognizes the project’s innovative high-school and college lesson plans, which engage students in the plight of people around the world in new ways.

This award was presented by Ari Shapiro, correspondent for National Public Radio.

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PERFORMING ARTS

ST. VINCENT

An iconoclastic American singer- songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known for her haunting vocals and provocative lyrics, St. Vincent (the stage name of Annie Clark) is being recognized for her fourth album, Love This Giant, released in late 2012 in collaboration with David Byrne, formerly of the Talking Heads. With its offbeat songs like “Ice Age” and “I Should Watch TV” and its novel use of instruments, including drum machines and brass, the album, one reviewer noted, is “a deeply weird and deeply lovely record that listeners should do their best to listen to with as few preconceptions as possible.”

This award was presented by David Byrne, co-founder of the Talking Heads.

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TECHNOLOGY

ADAM STELTZNER

Adam Steltzner is the lead mechanical engineer on the celebrated Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) Team. It devised the incredible technology that enabled the heaviest human-made object yet sent to Mars, the Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, to land without a hitch on the planet’s surface, in August 2012. The feat was spectacular, as are the rover’s successes: So far it has discovered an ancient stream bed, has obtained the first sample ever collected from the interior rock on another planet and has found carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and other key ingredients necessary for life.

This award was presented by Dr. Buzz Aldrin, astronaut on the Apollo 11 mission.

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