Date: Oct. 30, 1995
Contacts: Barbara J. Rice, Media Relations Manager
Darice Griggs, Media Relations Assistant
(202) 334-2138; Internet <>


WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has selected William T. Golden to receive the 1996 Public Welfare Medal, the highest honor accorded by the Academy. Golden, designer of the nation's first presidential science advisory organization, currently co-chairs the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government, New York City.

"Bill's wise counsel and civic leadership have guided both government and private institutions," said Peter H. Raven, NAS home secretary and chair of the selection committee. "He has been a leader in national science policy for the past 40 years, not only bringing science into government but also bringing understanding that has helped engender the public support of science."

Established in 1914, the Public Welfare Medal is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. Previous recipients include Vannevar Bush, C. Everett Koop, and Carl Sagan.

"Bill Golden's contributions to science and the public welfare derive from his insatiable curiosity about scientific and technological developments and his devotion to serving the public," said NAS President Bruce Alberts. "This award is bestowed upon him for a lifetime of service."

In 1950, President Truman asked Golden to serve as a science consultant to revitalize the executive branch's science and military advising functions and review the government's science activities. Golden's plan to set up an office of science adviser and a science advisory commission at the White House was promptly approved by President Truman and was fully implemented by President Eisenhower in 1957, when Soviet gains in space prompted a race by the United States to catch up. He later played a key role in establishing the National Science Foundation, and has had the ear of almost every president since Truman.

His activities as a science adviser also brought him to the Atomic Energy Commission, the Department of State, and the second Hoover Commission. Golden served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Navy throughout World War II, and he invented a firing device for naval machine guns.

In addition to being the active chairman emeritus of the American Museum of Natural History, Golden is an officer and trustee of several scientific and educational organizations, including the New York Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Carnegie Institution of Washington, and Mount Sinai Medical Center, Hospital, and Medical School. He also is director of several business corporations, such as General American Investors Co. and Block Drug Co.

Born in New York City in 1909, Golden received a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1930 and attended the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1931. His interest in science led him to a graduate degree in biological sciences from Columbia University in 1979. He has honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Polytechnic University of New York, Hamilton College, and Bard College.

Golden is co-author and editor of numerous publications, including Science Advice to the President (1980); Science and Technology Advice to the President, Congress, and Judiciary (1988); and Worldwide Science and Technology Advice to the Highest Levels of Governments (1991).

He was given the Distinguished Public Service Award by the National Science Foundation in 1982; a special Tribute of Appreciation by NAS in 1991; and the Benjamin Franklin Award for Distinguished Public Service by the American Philosophical Society, of which he is a vice president, in 1995. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Public Administration, and the Royal Society of Arts, London.

The NAS Public Welfare Medal, consisting of a bronze medal and an illuminated scroll, will be presented to Golden on April 29 during the NAS 1996 annual meeting.