Like other trade publications, The Scientist gave substantial coverage to this year's Lasker Award winners, highlighting an important aspect of scientific research: recognition for outstanding work. Unfortunately, the broader media allocated comparatively little attention to these awards. It comes as no surprise, then, that a recent Harris Poll revealed astonishingly low public recognition of awards for scientific research, underscoring the need for more public outreach by scientists on behalf of research.

In the September 2000 Harris Poll, questions commissioned by Research!America show that only 47 percent of adults claim to be familiar with Nobel Prizes, only 37 percent claim to be familiar with the Westinghouse Award and only 23 percent claim to be familiar with the Intel Award (previously known as the Westinghouse Award). Although these recognition rates are quite low, they are substantially higher than for people who are familiar with several other research prizes, such as the Albert...

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