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Fact Sheet

Medal of Science


June 11, 2015

What is the National Medal of Science?

The National Medal of Science is the nation's highest scientific honor. Established by Congress in 1959, it was intended to be bestowed annually by the President of the United States on a select group of individuals deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences. Congress expanded this definition in 1980 to recognize outstanding work in the social and behavioral sciences. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy awarded the first Medal of Science to the late Theodore Von Karman, professor emeritus, California Institute of Technology.

Who administers the Medals of Science?

The National Science Foundation (NSF) administers the Medal of Science program for the President.

Who is eligible to receive the Medal of Science?

Any U.S. citizen or permanent resident who has applied for citizenship within the preceding 12 months.

What is the selection process?

A distinguished independent, 12-member, presidential-appointed committee reviews the nominations and sends its list of recommendations to the President for final selection. The committee is comprised of outstanding scientists and engineers from a variety of disciplines in the natural and social sciences. Serving as ex officio members are the president of the National Academy of Sciences and the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Policy.

For nomination and application information, contact the program manager for the National Medal of Science.

National Medal of Science
Phone: 703-292-8040
Fax: 703-292-9040
Email: sbgreen@nsf.gov

Recent Years' Awardees:

For more information about the medal and a database of past recipients, go to:  http://www.nsf.gov/od/nms/medal.jsp.

-NSF-

Program Contacts
Sherrie M. B. Green, NSF, (703) 292-5053, sbgreen@nsf.gov

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) 2016, 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. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page: https://www.nsf.gov
NSF News: https://www.nsf.gov/news/
For the News Media: https://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp
Science and Engineering Statistics: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/
Awards Searches: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/