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2006 Philip Hauge Abelson Prize Recipient

2006 Award Recipients

AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize


Charles M. Vest

Charles M. Vest is recognized for his effective leadership and outstanding contributions to the areas of public policy, university research, and education.

The Philip Hauge Abelson Prize, established in 1985, is awarded either to a public servant, in recognition of sustained exceptional contributions to advancing science, or to 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 plaque.

Charles M. Vest is president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a position he held from 1990 until 2004. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, and is the recipient of 10 honorary doctoral degrees. He is a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT and has research interests in the thermal sciences and the engineering applications of lasers and coherent optics. Prior to his ascension to the MIT presidency, he served as the provost and professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Vest has worked to bring issues concerning education and research to broader public attention and to strengthen national policy on science, engineering, and education. He chaired the President’s Advisory Committee on the Redesign of the Space Station and serves on the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He chaired the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Task Force on the Future of DOE Science Programs, was vice chair of the Council on Competitiveness for eight years, and is a past chair of the Association of American Universities.

Dr. Vest recently completed service as a member of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction and of the U.S. Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education. He now serves on the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Transformational Diplomacy and the Rice-Chertoff Secure Borders, Open Doors Advisory Board Subcommittee.

In addition to his professional work, he has been a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) since 1993 and sits on the Academy’s governing council. He has been nominated to be the next president of the NAE. If elected he will begin a six-year term on 1 July 2007.

Please click here for a list of past recipients.