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Vannevar Bush Award

NSB Honors President Jackson

On May 14, Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson received the National Science Board’s prestigious Vannevar Bush Award for a lifetime of achievements in scientific research, education, and senior statesman-like contributions to public policy.

During an awards ceremony at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., Jackson was recognized for her leadership in the national movement to understand and respond to what she calls a “quiet crisis” in the science and engineering work force, as well as her advocacy on global energy security, her role in leading an institutional transformation at Rensselaer, and innovations she implemented as chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1995 to 1999.

“Shirley Ann Jackson has been a leader on many fronts, and she has incorporated scientific approaches into all of her work, especially on policy issues of international importance and in reforming one of the nation’s important educational institutions,” Chairman of the National Science Board Steven C. Beering said in a press release. “She’s a national treasure deserving of the Vannevar Bush Award for her widely valued public service and contributions to the nation and the international community.”

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Photo by Sam Kittner

The Vannevar Bush Award was established in 1980 to honor the unique contributions of a prominent World War II-era scientist and presidential adviser. The annual award recognizes an individual who, through public service activities in science and technology, has made an outstanding “contribution toward the welfare of mankind and the Nation.”

In 1945, at President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s urging, Bush reported a series of recommendations for a post-war system of federal research and education to broaden the nation’s scientific and technological expertise in many fields. His book, Science: The Endless Frontier, is often cited as the document spurring the eventual formation of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1950. NSF is the federal agency that supports primarily university-based research across almost all fields of science and engineering.

The National Science Board is an independent 24-member body of policy advisers to the president and Congress on matters of science and engineering research, and is the policy-making and oversight body for the National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency that supports almost all areas of fundamental research nationwide.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2007 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.