The Franklin Institute Celebrates 200 Years of Recognizing Excellence in Science and Technology with Announcement of 2024 Franklin Institute Awards Laureates

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PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 30, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The Franklin Institute, celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2024, marks two centuries of recognizing excellence in science and technology this year through The Franklin Institute Awards Program, one of the oldest comprehensive science awards in the world, and a cornerstone of the museum’s legacy since its founding in 1824.

As part of its bicentennial celebrations, The Franklin Institute proudly announces the laureates of the 200th year of the Awards Program. Through their boundless creativity and passion for discovery, they have seen the previously invisible, pushed the limits of nature’s toolkit, and dreamed up solutions to global challenges—advancing health, sustainability, and human connection.

“The 200-year legacy of The Franklin Institute Awards stands as a shining example of our dedication to honoring those who have made significant strides in advancing scientific knowledge,” said Larry Dubinski, President and CEO of The Franklin Institute. “In this milestone year, the Awards Program will celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our 2024 laureates and serve as a reminder of The Franklin Institute’s rich history and its ongoing commitment to shaping the future of science and technology.”

Since its inception, The Franklin Institute Awards Program has honored the most influential scientists, engineers, and inventors who have significantly advanced science and technology. The roster of more than 2,000 laureates includes luminaries such as Nikola Tesla, Marie and Pierre Curie, Orville Wright, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking, and more recently, vaccine pioneers Kizzmekia Corbett, Drew Weissman, and Katalin Karikó. Notably, 125 of these laureates have also received the Nobel Prize.

“The legacy of The Franklin Institute Awards is entwined with some of the most epic milestones in human innovation, from the development of the typewriter to the dawn of quantum computing, from the diesel engine to the Mars Rover, and from X-rays to genome editing,” said Dr. Darryl Williams, Senior Vice President of Science and Education at The Franklin Institute. “The program has become a symbol of excellence and innovation, inspiring future generations to push the boundaries of knowledge.”

The achievements of nine laureates will be celebrated in a ceremony hosted by Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts on April 18, 2024, at the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial of The Franklin Institute.

The 2024 Franklin Institute Awards Laureates 

David A. Weitz, Ph.D., Harvard University

2024 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science for transforming our fundamental understanding of squishy materials ranging from gels, polymers, colloids, and emulsions to living organisms. His innovations led to the development of microdevices for applications ranging from rapid disease screening and drug discovery to cosmetic products. A master educator, he has popularized science through the physics of cooking.

Lisa Su, Ph.D., AMD

2024 Bower Award for Business Leadership For her transformational leadership of AMD, a leader in high-performance and adaptive computing and one of the fastest growing semiconductor companies in the world. As an accomplished engineer and champion for diversity and women in tech, Dr. Su’s bold vision to deliver the next generation of computing and AI solutions has led to AMD becoming one of the industry’s most influential companies.

Gabriela S. Schlau-Cohen, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2024 Benjamin Franklin NextGen Award for illuminating the fundamental chemical processes that protect plants from sun damage, uncovering novel approaches to increasing crop yields.

Paula T. Hammond, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2024 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry for innovative methods to create novel materials one molecular layer at a time and for applying these materials to areas ranging from drug delivery to energy storage.

Janet F. Werker, Ph.D., O.C., FRSC, The University of British Columbia

2024 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science for charting how children learn the sounds of languages and how their brains change and adapt in critical ways as they do so. Her work helps us understand typical and atypical human development.

Paul D. N. Hebert, Ph.D., FRSC, O.C., University of Guelph

2024 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science for his bold vision to catalog every living organism using a small piece of DNA—a DNA barcode—which allows scientists to rapidly discover new species and assess biodiversity and provides everyone with a means to explore biodiversity for themselves.

Robert M. Metcalfe, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin

2024 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering for his pioneering role in the design, development, and commercialization of Ethernet, an interface for networking and file sharing between computers.

Joanne Chory, Ph.D., The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

2024 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science for applying genetics to understanding how plants sense and respond to light and for inspiring new strategies for using plants to combat climate change.

Mary C. Boyce, Ph.D., Columbia University

2024 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering for transformative contributions to our understanding of the physical behavior of polymers, materials made of long chains of molecules, leading to innovative product development of rubber and other soft materials.

Bank of America returns in 2024 as the Presenting Sponsor of The Franklin Institute Awards Ceremony and Dinner for the 22nd consecutive year. The Hess Foundation and PNC Bank are the 200th Anniversary Sponsors.

For more information about The Franklin Institute Awards Program and the 2024 laureates, please visit fi.edu/awards.

2024 Franklin Institute Awards Press Kit | Images Video 

ABOUT THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in science and technology learning and a dynamic center of activity. As Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science experiences. For more information, visit www.fi.edu.

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2024, marks two centuries of recognizing excellence in science and technology this year through The Franklin Institute Awards Program. The achievements of nine laureates will be celebrated in a ceremony hosted by Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts on April 18, 2024, at the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial of The Franklin Institute.

The Franklin Institute Awards Program celebrates its 200th year in 2024.

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SOURCE The Franklin Institute

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