AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize

Supported by The Fodor Family Trust

The Prize

The Association’s oldest award, the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize, supported by The Fodor Family Trust, was established in 1923 with funds donated by Newcomb Cleveland of New York City and was originally called the AAAS Thousand Dollar Prize. It is now known as the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize, and its value is $25,000. In addition to the prize funds, the winner receives a commemorative plaque, complimentary registration and reimbursement for reasonable travel and hotel expenses to attend the AAAS Annual Meeting in order to accept the prize at the Awards Ceremony.


The prize is awarded to the author or authors of an outstanding paper published in the Research Articles or Reports sections of Science. Each annual contest starts with the first issue of June and ends with the last issue of the following May.

An eligible paper is one that includes original research data, theory, or synthesis; is a fundamental contribution to basic knowledge or is a technical achievement of far-reaching consequence; and is a first-time publication of the author’s own work. Reference to pertinent earlier work by the author may be included to give perspective.

Nomination Procedures

Throughout the year, readers of Science are invited to nominate papers appearing in the Research Articles or Reports sections. Nominations must be submitted in our online form by June 30.

Please note: self-nominations will not be accepted for the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize. Final selection is determined by a panel of distinguished scientists appointed by the editor-in-chief of Science.

2015 Recipient

The 2015 Newcomb Cleveland Prize was awarded to Bi-Chang Chen, Wesley R. Legant, Kai Wang, Lin Shao, Daniel E. Milkie, Michael W. Davidson, Chris Janetopoulos, Xufeng S. Wu, John A. Hammer III, Zhe Liu, Brian P. English, Yuko Mimori-Kiyosue, Daniel P. Romero, Alex T. Ritter, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Lillian Fritz-Laylin, R. Dyche Mullins, Diana M. Mitchell, Joshua N. Bembenek, Anne-Cecile Reymann, Ralph Böhme, Stephan W. Grill, Jennifer T. Wang, Geraldine Seydoux, U. Serdar Tulu, Daniel P. Kiehart, and Eric Betzig for their outstanding research article 'Lattice light-sheet microscopy: Imaging molecules to embryos at high spatiotemporal resolution'published in Science 24 October 2014. 

Animation defines life, and the three-dimensional (3D) imaging of dynamic biological processes occurring within living specimens is essential to understand life. However, in vivo imaging, especially in 3D, involves inevitable tradeoffs of resolution, speed, and phototoxicity. Chen et al. describe a microscope that can address these concerns. They used a class of nondiffracting beams, known as 2D optical lattices, which spread the excitation energy across the entire field of view while simultaneously eliminating out-of-focus excitation. Lattice light sheets increase the speed of image acquisition and reduce phototoxicity, which expands the range of biological problems that can be investigated. The authors illustrate the power of their approach using 20 distinct biological systems ranging from single-molecule binding kinetics to cell migration and division, immunology, and embryonic development. The authors created and successfully applied a fundamentally new method that can be utilized in various fields.

Read a list of past recipients.