FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES ANNOUNCE THE MAYOR'S AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented the recipients of The Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Science and Technology today. The awards, recognizing outstanding achievement in science and technology, are administered by the New York Academy of Sciences and presented annually in categories including: Biological and Medical Sciences; Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences; Public Understanding of Science and Technology; Young Investigator; Science Educator; and Science and Society. This year's Awards are part of the first annual "Science and the City Day", a multi-event celebration organized by the New York Academy of Sciences to highlight New York City's status as one of the world's great science centers.
"In terms of number of PhDs, or academic institutions, or people working in the healthcare, science, and technology sectors - in almost every category, New York City is a world class, if not the premier location in the world," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Indeed, 2004 has been a banner year. In information technology, New York now boasts a $9.2 billion industry - with almost 5,000 high-tech and new media companies employing more than 94,000 people. And, perhaps most importantly, we are seeing reinvigorated science programs developing in public schools all around the city. The science geniuses and medical pioneers of tomorrow will now receive the early inspiration and support they deserve - so that they may grow up to achieve and contribute like the Award winners today."
A special recognition award was presented to the medical team at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, led by Dr. James T. Goodrich and Dr. David A. Staffenberg. for performing the historic surgery of separating conjoined twin boys Carl and Clarence Aguirre over a 10-month period. No hospital in New York has ever attempted the separation of conjoined twins. Receiving The Mayor's Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology is Dr. Oliver W. Sacks, M.D., an author and clinical professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and an adjunct professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Sacks' work includes extensive exploration in the ways in which individuals survive and adapt to different neurological diseases and conditions, and what this experience can tell us about the human brain and mind. Dr. Sacks' book, Awakenings (1973), was the inspiration for the film by the same name starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.
"For 19 years, the New York Academy of Sciences has been proud to be associated with the Mayor's Awards because of the extraordinary quality of the honorees," said New York Academy of Sciences President Ellis Rubenstein. "Seven Award winners have been Nobel Laureates and, in most of these cases, the Mayor's Award preceded acclamation by the Nobel Foundation. These winners bring credit to New York City and demonstrate not only the quality of our institutions but also the depth and breadth of our city's scientific and technological talent."
2004 Award Recipients are:
Biological and Medical Sciences
Dr. Dan R. Littman, Ph.D., M.D. is a professor of molecular immunology at New York University School of Medicine and directs the molecular pathogenesis program at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at New York University School of Medicine. Educated at both Princeton University and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, his research has contributed important new approaches to the treatment of AIDS and autoimmune diseases and has impacted our understanding of fundamental biological processes. He is the recipient of the National Institute of Health Merit Award as well as an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Ralph M. Steinman, M.D. is the head of the Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology at The Rockefeller University and senior physician at The Rockefeller University Hospital. He is a cell biologist, whose research on the immune system has enabled him and others to pioneer the development of immunotherapies to strengthen responses in patients with deadly infections and cancers. In addition to research, Dr. Steinman has received numerous awards including the Gairdner Foundation International Award, and he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Science and Society
Dr. Colin P. Nuckolls, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of chemistry at Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. He is interested in nanotechnology, with an emphasis on organic chemistry. He has developed original designs for molecules with significant electrical properties that self-assemble into isolated, one-dimensional nanostructures, and exhibit significant properties required for producing ransistors. Dr. Nuckolls has received numerous awards, including the Beckham Young Investigator Award, the DuPont Young Investigator Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship.
Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences
Dr. Nicholas J. Turro, Ph.D. is the William P. Schweitzer Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology and is a pioneer in the research of photochemistry and spectroscopy. He has been at the forefront in the development of information technologies for the teaching of science.
Since joining the faculty of Columbia University, Dr. Turro's intellectual contributions have been a major factor in providing the theoretical and experimental paradigms in which fields of modern mechanistic organic photochemistry, chemi-excitation of organic molecules, the theory of organic photochemical reactions, and organic magneto-chemistry have been built. He is the recipient of an award by the National Science Foundation for his achievements in education and research.
Public Understanding of Science and Technology
His book Awakenings (1973) was the inspiration for the film by the same name starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. Dr. Sacks is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, as well as various medical journals, and he is an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the New York Academy of Sciences, and Queens College, Oxford. Dr. Sacks is a member of the board of the New York Botanical Garden and the New York Mineralogical Club.
Special Recognition Award The Children's Hospital at Montefiore
Dr. James T. Goodrich is the Director for the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore. Dr. Goodrich also serves as the Director for the International Center for Craniofacial Surgery, Head and Neck Surgery, and the Neurosciences, at the University of Palermo in Palermo, Italy. He is certified in neurological surgery and pediatric neurological surgery. He graduated from the University of California at Irvine, and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr. Goodrich's clinical skills have been recognized by both his professional peers and his patients, having been voted one of the best medical doctors in New York by New York Magazine and featured in the Consumers Council of America's 2002 Guide to America's Top Surgeons, and Best Doctors in America 2003.
Dr. David A. Staffenberg is the Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, and Surgical Director at the Center for Craniofacial Disorders at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore. He also serves as an Assistant Professor of Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Staffenberg graduated from Binghamton University and New York Medical College, and is certified in plastic surgery. He has published numerous abstracts on craniofacial and reconstructive surgery. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the John Marquis Society, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Mayor Bloomberg also acknowledged the following students for their outstanding contribution to the science community.
Neha Chauhan, Susan E. Wagner High School (graduated, May 2004), 2004 Intel Finalist; worked at the New York State Institute of Basica Reasearch.
Mou Chung Ng, Midwood High School (graduated, May 2004), 2004 New York City Science and Engineering Fair Grand Award Winner; worked at SUNY Downstate.
Yin Li, Stuyvesant High School (graduated, May 2004), 2004 Siemens Westinghouse Grand Prize Winner; worked at Columbia University.
The New York Academy of Sciences, founded in 1817, is the oldest scientific and technological organization in New York City and the third oldest in the country. The Academy has more than 23,000 members in 150 countries and is renowned for its scientific conferences, its publication of the Annals series of scholarly books, and its efforts to protect the human rights of scientists.
"New Yorkers appreciate the scholars, researchers, physicians and scientist in our City's science and technology community and we are committed to continuing our support of the work you do," concluded Mayor Bloomberg. "You do more than just enrich the lives of New Yorkers, or even people around the globe. By advancing human knowledge in science and technology - knowledge that will be used for good - you've made this a better place for future generations."
Edward Skyler / Jonathan Werbell (212) 788-2958
Fred Moreno (New York Academy of Sciences) (212) 863-0230 ext. 230
Watch the video in 56k or 300k