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The New York Academy of Sciences Celebrates Global Resilience through Innovations in Science

Published November 22, 2022

After a three-year [pandemic] pause, more than 300 friends and supporters gathered at Cipriani 25 Broadway to celebrate global resilience through innovations in science at the 2022 New York Academy of Sciences Gala held on Monday, November 14, 2022. The event was presented by the Academy’s Chief Scientific Officer Brooke Grindlinger, PhD.

Jerry Hultin, Chair of the Academy’s Board of Governors, introduced the Academy’s President and CEO Nicholas Dirks who awarded Alan Alda, six-time Emmy and Golden Globe winner and science communicator extraordinaire with the Academy’s Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for Communicating Science. Dirks asked Alda about his journey from entertainment to science communication and the impact it has made. “It really surprised me that the work we are doing at [the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science] at Stony Brook [University] is more than just helping scientists communicate with the public or policymakers. But it’s also helping scientists communicate with one another,” Alda said. “We tend to speak different languages based on our work we are minutely associated with,” he added. Relating to the importance of innovation, he remarked “if all our great scientific breakthroughs are going to come about through collaboration across disciplines, we are going to need better communication—better communication across science. Industry, policy-making, government, NGOs, they all have different perspectives and they all need better communication.”

In keeping with the Gala’s theme of global resilience, Dirks led a conversation on stage with Dario Gil, PhD, Senior Vice President and Director of Research at IBM and Annaliesa Anderson, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Vaccine Research & Development at Pfizer, to discuss learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic on fast-tracking scientific innovation and crisis preparedness using machine learning and computing.

Shekerah Primus, PhD, a field scientist and Academy STEM mentor led a science experiment, providing all guests with the opportunity to experience the types of hands-on STEM mentorship that middle-school students receive through the Academy's Afterschool STEM Mentoring programs.

The program concluded with recognizing the 2021 and 2022 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists honorees. The Blavatnik Family Foundation’s Peter Thorén gave remarks and Dr. Grindlinger introduced each one of the Finalists, calling them to the stage. As a group, the 2021 and 2022 Finalists took a bow. Videos featuring the 2021 Winners and the 2022 Winners were shown, and Dr. Grindlinger introduced each cohort of Winners. Peter Thorén presented each Winner with their personalized medal.