AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize
2010 Award Recipient
Rush Holt is a recognized leader in Congress on science- and technology-related issues and has been tireless in his efforts to convey to his fellow legislators and the general public a better understanding of what scientists and engineers do and how science and technology contribute to national economic growth and security. He has also been recognized for his work to build links between Members of Congress and the science and engineering communities. A dedicated public servant who has made “sustained exceptional contributions to advancing science,” Representative Holt exemplifies the spirit of the Abelson Prize.
Congressman Holt graduated with a B.A. in physics from Carleton College in Minnesota, and holds Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in physics from New York University. He served as a faculty member at Swarthmore College from 1980 to 1988, where he taught physics, public policy, and religion courses. From 1987 to 1989, he headed the Nuclear and Scientific Division of the Office of Strategic Forces at the U.S. Department of State.
From 1989 to 1998, Representative Holt was the Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University, the university’s largest research facility and the largest center for alternative energy research in New Jersey.
Having served as a AAAS Congressional Science Fellow in the office of Representative Bob Edgar of Pennsylvania in the 1980’s, Rush Holt was elected to the 106th Congress in 1998 and then to six succeeding Congresses. He is currently the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District. Joining Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), a AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize winner in 2002, Congressman Holt was the second research physicist to be elected to Congress. His committee memberships in the House have recently included Education and Labor, Natural Resources, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Science- and technology-related issues of national and regional concern have been a central focus for Congressman Holt since entering the House of Representatives. He has been active in providing strong and visible support for research and development and funding for basic and applied research; working to solve societal problems by means of science and technology; promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and expanding America’s scientific workforce; and promoting innovation in the private sector.
His work has earned numerous awards and citations, including biotech “Legislator of the Year” and the Science Coalition’s Champion of Science Award. Scientific American designated Congressman Holt as one of 50 national “visionaries” contributing to “a brighter technological future.”
The Philip Hauge Abelson Prize, established in 1985, recognizes a public servant for sustained exceptional contributions to advancing science, or a scientist whose career has been distinguished both for scientific achievement and for other notable services to the scientific community. The recipient receives $5,000 and a commemorative medallion.
Please click here  for a list of past recipients.