News Release 04-057

NSB 2004 Vannevar Bush, Public Service Awards, Span Research, Scholarship, Science Communication and Policy

April 26, 2004

ARLINGTON, Va.- In a career that spans a half-century, the name Mary L. Good has been synonymous with interdisciplinary research, contributions to science, education, and science and technology policy - uniquely and successfully woven throughout a career that has included positions in academia, government and industry.

The National Science Board (NSB) has named Good to receive the 2004 Vannevar Bush Award for her life-long contributions to science, engineering and technology, and for leadership throughout her multi-faceted career. The NSB is the 24-member policy body of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and advises the president and Congress on matters of U.S. science and engineering.

The NSB has also recognized neurologist Oliver W. Sacks and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for their respective individual and organizational contributions to increase public understanding of science or engineering by selecting them for the NSB's annual Public Service Awards. Those awards were established in 1996.

All awards will be presented at the NSB's annual awards dinner on May 3 in Washington, D.C.

The Bush Award was established in 1980 to commemorate NSF's 30th anniversary. The award is named for Vannevar Bush, a prominent science advisor to several presidents. Bush focused post-World War II national science policy in his book, Science: The Endless Frontier, considered the catalyst for the creation of the National Science Foundation.

Good, who currently serves as Dean of the Donaghey College of Information Science and Systems Engineering at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, just a few years ago "went home" to Arkansas after decades of pursuits that took her to other parts of the country. She received her master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. But her career led first to Louisiana, where she stayed for almost a quarter- century as a chemistry professor at both Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans. She was appointed the Boyd Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at LSU before she joined private industry in 1980.

Good's 12 years in the private sector included key positions at UOP Inc., in Des Plaines, Ill., and at Allied Signal in N.J., were she became Allied Signal's senior vice president of technology.

After successful stints in academia and the private sector, Good was appointed Under Secretary, Technology Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce. While there, she was credited with mitigating or removing many regulatory barriers to enhance the position of the United States in global markets. She also used her experience in private and academic organizations to formulate policies that colleagues said improved U.S. innovation and productivity and also helped shape the nation's economy during the growth of the Information Age.

Good was a member of the National Science Board for 12 years under presidents Carter and Reagan, and served as its chair from 1988-91. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a past president of the American Chemical Society, and has served on numerous government advisory panels.

"The many recognitions Mary Good has received for her contributions to the nation's scientific capability attest to the significance of her work," said John White, current NSB member and Chancellor, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. White was NSF's assistant director for engineering when Good chaired the National Science Board. "I observed first-hand her obvious dedication and firm commitment to the nation and to science, not to mention the support she provided the National Science Foundation," White added.

Meanwhile, neurologist and author, Oliver Sacks, will receive the NSB Public Service Award for his work to increase awareness and understanding of the processes of science through his books and other writings.

Through his close observations of people with various neurological conditions, and how they adapt and live creatively with their conditions, Sacks has influenced how modern medicine sees the working of the human brain and mind. His books have been best sellers around the world and are used widely at universities in courses on medicine, neuroscience, writing, ethics, philosophy and sociology.

In 1966, Sacks encountered an extraordinary group of patients, many of whom had spent decades in strange, frozen states, unable to communicate or to initiate movement. He recognized the patients as survivors of the 1916-1927 sleepy sickness pandemic. He treated them with a then-experimental drug, L-dopa, which enabled them to "come back to life." They became the subjects of his second book, Awakenings (1973), which later inspired a play (A Kind of Alaska) by Harold Pinter and the Oscar-nominated Hollywood movie, Awakenings.

Sacks is perhaps best known for his 1985 collection of case histories, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, in which he describes patients struggling to live with conditions ranging from Tourette's Syndrome to autism, musical hallucination, phantom limb syndrome, schizophrenia, retardation and Alzheimer's disease, among others.

In addition to his many honors, Sacks received an honorary doctorate (in medicine) from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. He regularly contributes to The New Yorker, the New York Review of Books and various medical journals.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will receive the Public Service Award honoring an organization. Sloan has reached tens of millions of people through its support of an extensive list of books, plays, films, radio and television shows and Internet programs. The foundation, established in 1934 and named for the former General Motors chairman, creates, manages and produces in-house programs in addition to supporting talented individuals, groups and organizations to make science and technology accessible and relevant to daily life.

The Sloan Foundation book program has supported biographies and works about controversial or pressing scientific issues, including Dava Sobel's Galileo's Daughter. Sobel received the NSB Public Service Award in 2001.

Sloan's support of public television programming produced numerous documentaries about the role of technology in society, many based on the Sloan Technology Book Series. It has contributed to programs such as The Elegant Universe, WGBH-TV's The American Experience, and shows about women and minorities in science.

Sloan has supported major National Public Radio news programs, such as Science Friday, as well as technology coverage on Public Radio International's The World and segments on CBS's The Osgood File.

Sloan has teamed with leading developmental theaters, commissioning dozens of new plays about science and technology. It also supported such acclaimed plays as Copenhagen, Proof and QED.

Sloan has partnered with top film schools, national and international film festivals, and leading Hollywood and independent producers to develop film and television shows featuring scientists and engineers.

These programs have positioned Sloan as a media giant for science, engineering and technology, and helped reveal to the public the humanness at the heart of the scientific process and discovery.


NSF PR04-57 (NSB04-74)

For more information on the awardees, see: (Mary Good) (Oliver Sacks) (Sloan Foundation)

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Media Contacts
Bill Noxon, NSF, (703) 292-7750,

Program Contacts
Susan Fannoney, NSF, (703) 292-8096,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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