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Proliferation Of Scientific Prizes Reinforces Nobel's Distinguished Honor

Prizes in science-especially those with large honoraria-are proliferating. In North America alone, some 3,000 prizes are available in the sciences-five times as many as 20 years ago. In the same interval, the population of working scientists has grown, but at nothing like that clip. Like their predecessors, most new prizes are designed to honor those who have done significant research and, as a byproduct, to honor those who award them. Unlike most of their predecessors, many new prizes are ric

Harriet Zuckerman

Prizes in science-especially those with large honoraria-are proliferating. In North America alone, some 3,000 prizes are available in the sciences-five times as many as 20 years ago. In the same interval, the population of working scientists has grown, but at nothing like that clip.

Like their predecessors, most new prizes are designed to honor those who have done significant research and, as a byproduct, to honor those who award them. Unlike most of their predecessors, many new prizes are rich. More than two dozen of them bring recipients $100,000 or more. Both the Japan Prize for Science and the Lemelson-MIT Prize for Invention recently had honoraria of $500,000. Other such awards include the Kyoto Prize for basic science of $430,000, the Charles Stark Draper Prize for engineering of $400,000, the Crafoord prizes of $340,000 each, and the Bower Prize for science of $250,000.


Illustration: John Overmyer
An additional half-dozen new...

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