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2012 Philip Hauge Abelson Prize Recipient

AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize

2012 Award Recipient


Dr. Anita K. Jones received her Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in 1973. After ten years as a faculty member at CMU, she left to co-found the software firm Tartan Laboratories, where she was Vice President until 1987. The following year she became a full Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department at the University of Virginia (UVA), which has been her academic home ever since.

In 1993 she took leave from UVA to be the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Director of Defense Research and Engineering, with responsibility for overseeing DOD’s science and technology programs, research laboratories, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). She held this position until 1997 and received awards for distinguished public service. She then returned to UVA to become University Professor in 1997.

In addition to her outstanding scientific-technical achievements in the rapidly developing field of computer science, Dr. Jones’ career has been exceptional for her stellar performance in a wide range of public service roles and her service in senior advisory capacities to academic and business institutions. The following are but a sample of such roles: the National Science Board; DOD Defense Science Board; U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board; member, the MIT Corporation; and Board of Directors, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

Her service in professional activities has been equally impressive. Some of these roles include: the National Medal of Technology Selection Committee; service on the National Academies’ committee that produced the report “Rising Above the Gathering Storm”; and the NASA Space Science and Applications Advisory Committee.

The honors, awards, and distinctions bestowed upon Dr. Jones are numerous and deserved. As just a sample, they include: Member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE); NAE’s Arthur M. Bueche Award; Department of Defense Award for Distinguished Public Service; IEEE Founders Medal; and honorary doctorates from Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, and the University of Southern California. Dr. Jones is also a fellow of AAAS.

Throughout her career, Dr. Jones has demonstrated (in the words of her nominators) a “constructive, selfless approach to solving problems [as well as] impeccable integrity.” Her nominators describe her as “a truly extraordinary leader, technologist, policy developer, and public servant,” and as “one of the most visionary thought [leaders] concerning the impact of rapidly evolving information technology on our society.” In short, Dr. Jones is the very model of an Abelson Prize recipient.

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 medallion.

Please click here for a list of past recipients.