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News Release 14-042

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan receives 2014 Public Service Award for an individual

Caplan's work fosters greater understanding of science, medicine and ethics

Arthur Caplan

Arthur Caplan is a trailblazer in raising awareness about ethical questions for scientific advances.

March 24, 2014

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Today the National Science Board (NSB) announced that renowned bioethicist Arthur Caplan, a global leader in medical ethics, is the 2014 recipient of its Public Service Award for an individual.

NSB's Public Service Award honors an individual's exemplary service in fostering public understanding of science and engineering. Arthur Caplan is the founding head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York. Known as the 'go-to' expert on ethics, medicine and science, Caplan has long been a trailblazer in raising awareness about the ethical questions that accompany scientific and technological advances.

"Years before the cloned sheep Dolly appeared on the global stage, Arthur Caplan was working to raise public awareness and discussion about ethical implications of science," said Ruth David, Chair of the NSB's Committee on Honorary Awards. "Arthur engaged with reporters, wrote and talked about ethical and policy questions related to science, medicine and bioengineering, and encouraged his peers and students to do likewise."

Caplan is the author or editor of 32 books and over 600 papers in peer reviewed journals. He has chaired a number of national and international committees including the National Cancer Institute Biobanking Ethics Working Group and the Advisory Committee to the United Nations on Human Cloning, among others. He writes a column on bioethics for, is a commentator on bioethics and health care issues for WebMD/Medscape, and a regular commentator on medicine and science for WGBH radio in Boston.

Among Caplan's many recognitions are the McGovern Medal of the American Medical Writers Association, the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics, and a Person of the Year-2001 from USA Today. He is a fellow of the Hastings Center, the NY Academy of Medicine, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the American College of Legal Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"I am very honored to receive this award and very proud to join the ranks of previous awardees who have worked tirelessly to enhance the public's understanding of science and the social and ethical choices advances in science, engineering and health care present," said Caplan.

NSB will present Caplan with the Public Service Award for an individual on May 6, 2014, during the National Science Foundation/NSB Annual Awards Ceremony held in Washington, D.C. Recipients of the NSB's Public Service Award for a group and Vannevar Bush Award will also be honored, along with NSF's Waterman awardee. Past Public Service Award individuals include Moira Gunn (Tech Nation), Nalini Nadkarni (Evergreen State College) and Alan Alda (Scientific American Frontiers).

About the National Science Board

NSB is the policymaking body for the National Science Foundation. NSB also advises the President and Congress on science and engineering policy issues. The Board's 24 members are drawn primarily from universities and industry and represent a variety of science and engineering disciplines. Selected for their eminence in research, education or public service and records of distinguished service, Board members serve six-year terms. NSF's Director is an ex officio 25th member of the Board. Visit NSB's website for more information.


Media Contacts
Nadine Lymn, National Science Board, (703) 292-2490, email:
Lorinda Ann Klein, NYU Medical Center, (212) 404-3533, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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