The President's National Medal of Science was established by the 86th Congress in 1959 as a presidential award to be given to individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences." In 1980, Congress expanded this recognition to include the social and behavioral sciences.
A committee of 12 scientists and engineers is appointed by the president to evaluate the nominees for the award. Since its establishment, the National Medal of Science has been awarded to 449 distinguished scientists and engineers whose careers span decades of research and development. The National Medal of Science is the highest presidential recognition bestowed on scientists and engineers.
The National Medal of Science is administered by NSF's Office of Integrative Activities, on behalf of the NSF director, and is vetted and approved by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Congress established the Alan T. Waterman Award in August 1975 to mark NSF's 25th anniversary and to honor its first director. The annual award recognizes an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by NSF. In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of $1,000,000 over a five-year period for scientific research or advanced study in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, social or other sciences at the institution of the recipient's choice. The award is the highest recognition NSF bestows on an early-career scientist.
The Alan T. Waterman Award is administered by NSF's Office of Integrative Activities on behalf of the NSF director.
The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, or PECASE, recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of knowledge. This presidential award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. This award is presented by the Office of Science and Technology Policy on behalf of the White House. Seven U.S. government departments and two independent agencies participate in this program.
NSF selects its PECASE honorees from the pool of CAREER award recipients. By receiving awards through the CAREER program, NSF-nominated PECASE winners have already demonstrated their success in their field of expertise as well as in integrating research and education within the context of their organization's mission. NSF management of this program rotates among the directorates.
Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring honor U.S. citizens, permanent residents and organizations that have demonstrated excellence in mentoring individuals from groups that are underrepresented in STEM education and workforce. Each year's awardees add to the recognition of a widening network of outstanding mentors in the U.S., assuring that tomorrow's scientists and engineers will better represent the nation's diverse population.
Individuals and organizations in all public and private sectors are eligible, including industry, academia, primary and secondary education, military and government, nonprofit organizations and foundations. Nominations are encouraged from all geographical regions in the U.S., its territories or possessions, particularly NSF EPSCoR jurisdictions.
These awards are managed by NSF's Directorate for Education and Human Resources on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Send inquiries to PAESMEM@nsf.gov.
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Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the U.S. Enacted by Congress in 1983, this program authorizes the president to bestow up to 108 awards each year.
The award recognizes teachers for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science. In addition to honoring individual achievement, the goal of the award program is to exemplify the highest standards of mathematics and science teaching. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.
These awards are managed by NSF's Directorate for Education and Human Resources on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
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The National Science Board recognizes contributions to American science and public understanding of science through two annual, honorary awards: the Vannevar Bush Award and the Public Service Award.