News Release 15-044

NSB selects the American Museum of Natural History for its 2015 Public Service Award

Iconic museum recognized for historic and new initiatives to foster scientific understanding

American Museum of Natural History.

AMNH is NSB Public Service awardee. (Credit and Larger Version)

April 22, 2015

Today the National Science Board (NSB) announced that it will award New York City's American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) with its 2015 Public Service Award.

This prestigious award honors exemplary public service in promoting public understanding of science and engineering. NSB will also honor a second organization with its 2015 Public Service Award, to be announced later this month.

"Each year, the American Museum of Natural History shares the excitement and wonder of science with millions of students, teachers, families and other members of the public with its exhibitions and public programs," said Vint Cerf, chair of NSB's Committee on Honorary Awards. "Additional initiatives of the museum contribute to the teaching and learning of science and the training of the next generation of scientists."

Founded in 1869, AMNH's mission is to "discover, interpret and disseminate--through scientific research and education--knowledge about human cultures, the natural world and the universe."

The museum's scientific assets feature more than 33 million specimens and artifacts, 200 scientific staff and interdisciplinary research in areas that include genomics, computational biology and astrophysics. In recent years, the museum has leveraged its education and science resources to address science education needs and help develop future scientists. These initiatives include partnerships with urban schools, a Master of Arts in Teaching program with a focus on Earth science, a museum-based doctoral program in comparative biology and a mentoring program to provide research and laboratory experiences for under-resourced high school students.

"We are honored to receive this award from the National Science Board in recognition of the Museum's efforts to address the national crisis in science education, to increase the public understanding of science and to prepare the next generation of scientists, science teachers and scientifically literate citizens," said Ellen V. Futter, AMNH president.

"We live in a time when many of our most pressing problems and opportunities are science based, a time in which scientific advancement and science literacy are essential elements in our nation's continued leadership and key to a shared global future that is sustainable, responsible and peaceful. Museums like the American Museum of Natural History have an important role to play in this, and we are honored to be recognized by the National Science Board."

NSB will present AMNH and a second group with its Public Service Award on May 5, 2015, during the National Science Foundation (NSF)-NSB Annual Awards Ceremony held in Washington, D.C. AMNH President Ellen Futter will attend the ceremony and accept the award on the museum's behalf.

NSB will also recognize its 2015 Vannevar Bush awardee, an individual with life-long scientific and public service contributions, and NSF will honor this year's Waterman Award recipient, an outstanding scientist aged 35 or younger.

All four 2015 awardees will give presentations during the NSB's May 5-6 meeting. The presentations will be open to the public at NSF in Arlington, Va., and also viewable via a live webcast. The two group awardees will each present on May 5 with the Vannevar Bush and Waterman awardees presenting on May 6. Presentation times, the webcast link and other details will be posted on NSB's website by the week of April 27.

Past recipients of NSB's Public Service Award--established in the late 1990s--include The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, PBS television series NOVA and The Expanding Your Horizons Network.

About the National Science Board

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, NSB, (703) 292-2490,

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 2022 budget of $8.8 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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