Eugenie C. Scott to Receive Public Welfare Medal, Academy's Most Prestigious Award

WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Sciences Council has selected Eugenie C. Scott to receive its most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal. Established in 1914, the medal is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. The Council chose Scott for championing the teaching of evolution in the United States and for providing leadership to the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).

Date: Jan. 11, 2010
Contacts: Maureen O'Leary, Director of Public Information
Luwam Yeibio, Media Assistant
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Scott, a physical anthropologist by training, became the first executive director of the National Center for Science Education in 1987. Beginning with a loose network of supporters scattered around the country and a few private grants, she has developed NCSE into the nation’s leading advocate for the teaching of evolution in public schools. Through lectures, television appearances, and articles, she has explained the process of scientific inquiry and defended science education against creationist challenges. Scott and the NCSE have served as pro bono consultants in state and federal court cases on science standards, including the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial in which the teaching of intelligent design was held by a federal court to be unconstitutional.


"Eugenie Scott has worked tirelessly and very effectively to improve public understanding of both the nature of science and the science of evolution,” said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. "She makes the case for science again and again."


“Dr. Scott has been a champion in protecting the teaching of evolution in the U.S. public schools and a central figure in improving the public's understanding of evolution and the nature of science. We honor her for many years of organizing coalitions of scientists, parents, teachers, business people, clergy, and others to defend the teaching of evolution," said John Brauman, home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and chair of the Public Welfare Medal selection committee.


Scott received bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. She holds six honorary degrees and has received numerous awards from scientific and civil liberties organizations. Scott has served on the board of directors of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study and on the advisory councils of several organizations defending the separation of church and state. Scott, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has also held elected offices in the American Anthropological Association and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.


The Public Welfare Medal will be presented to Scott on April 25 during the Academy's 147th annual meeting. Previous recipients of the medal include Neal Lane, Norman Borlaug, William T. Golden, Maxine F. Singer, C. Everett Koop, and Carl Sagan.


The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and -- with the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council -- provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.