Announcing the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists
On Monday, November 12, 2007, the New York Academy of Sciences hosted its 4th Annual Science & the City Gala. Our annual Gala celebrates scientific excellence in the New York City area and this year paid special tribute to some of the region's brightest young investigators, to business leaders who are making New York a great city for science, and to a Nobel laureate based in New York.
The ceremony featured the announcement of the winners of the first annual New York Academy of Sciences Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, which recognize the most noteworthy and innovative scientists from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The awards, each carrying a cash prize of $25,000 in unrestricted funds, are made possible through a generous grant from the Blavatnik Charitable Foundation.
The awards recognize the achievements of young scientists and engineers (those born on or after Jan. 1, 1965) who have contributed significantly to interdisciplinary research. The prizes, honoring accomplishments in the life, physical, and social sciences, as well as engineering, are distributed to both basic and applied researchers.
The 2007 Blavatnik Award winners are: Léon Bottou, NEC Labs, Princeton, NJ (applied); George Malliaras, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (applied); Ruslan Medzhitov, Yale University, New Haven, CT. (basic); Milan Stojanovic, Columbia University, New York, NY (basic); and Leslie Vosshall, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY (basic).
The winners were chosen from among 14 finalists who represent a breadth of scientific disciplines, eight research institutions, and hail from 10 countries. Each finalist received $5,000 in unrestricted funds; the winners received an additional $20,000 each. Winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 43 judges representing more than 25 academic, research and other institutions.
"The New York area has more scientific and technical expertise than anywhere else in the world. But to maintain our leadership, we need to demonstrate our prowess and reward our young innovators," said NYAS President Ellis Rubinstein. "That's why we're pleased that the Blavatnik Awards can recognize the best young scientists that our area's academic and research institutions have to offer, and we thank the Blavatnik Charitable Foundation for its foresight in generously supporting this important initiative."
In addition to the Blavatnik Awards, the Academy honored a Nobel laureate and three business leaders, citing each for achievements and support of science in New York City.
The New York Academy of Sciences Economic Development for Science Award, for leadership in support of New York City as a center of scientific excellence, went to:
- Larry Silverstein, President & CEO, Silverstein Properties, Manhattan-based real estate icon who welcomed NYAS to its new home at 7 World Trade Center.
- Joel S. Marcus, Chairman & CEO of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, the largest developer and owner of life sciences real estate in the United States and the force behind the East River Science Park, which will provide a much-needed home for leading New York bioscience companies.
- Sanford I. Weill, former Chairman and CEO of Citigroup, an ardent supporter of scientific advancement through his generosity to Weill Cornell Medical College.
In addition, Nobel Laureate Paul Greengard received the 2007 Science & the City Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in New York City. Greengard, who attended New York City public schools, is Professor of Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience at The Rockefeller University. He shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Eric Kandel and Arvid Carlsson.