Golden Goose Award Honors Innovative Research However Obscure

Golden Goose Award Ceremony 2016: Clockwise from top right: Ed B. Knipling, son of screwworm fly researcher Ed F. Knipling, with John Welch; From left to right: John Hagood Vande Vate, Thomas D. Seeley, John J. Bartholdi III, Sunil Nakrani, Craig A. Tovey, Barbara Entwisle, Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Kathleen Mullan Harris, Ed B. Knipling, and John Welch; Dr. Barbara Entwisle and Kathleen Mullan Harris; From left to right: John Hagood Vande Vate, Thomas D. Seeley, John J. Bartholdi III, Sunil Nakrani, and Craig A. Tovey. | Juan David Romero

AAAS, the Association of American Universities, and the founding organizations of the Golden Goose Award honored 12 scientists whose odd-sounding or obscure federally funded research has had a major impact on society.

At the fifth annual Golden Goose ceremony held on 22 September at the Library of Congress three teams of recipients were formally presented with Golden Goose Awards during an event that drew a bipartisan group of members of Congress and other representatives of science, academia and business, including Rush Holt, AAAS CEO and executive publisher of the Science family journals.

The Golden Goose Awards | Juan David Romero

“The Golden Goose Award is a wonderful way for us to tell the stories of how scientific breakthroughs happen. How even research that might seem odd or frivolous at first can go on to change the lives of millions of Americans,” said Holt, who also announced that going forward, AAAS would be taking a larger role in supporting the award by bringing it under AAAS’ stewardship “and working to secure its future for many years.” 

The 2016 award recipients – comprised of three teams of scientists, engineers and medical professionals – were named winners in three separate announcements throughout this year: 

14 September: A team of five interdisciplinary researchers was honored for developing the “Honey Bee Algorithm." The team transformed honey bee foraging behaviors into an algorithm that is now used to streamline internet services for web-hosting companies.

22 June: Two researchers were posthumously honored for their early work on the mating practices of the screwworm fly that led to the creation of an innovative technique  used to eradicate the screwworm fly from North and Central America. The screwworm fly had long ravaged the cattle industry.  

31 March: A team of five social science researchers was honored for its longitudinal study of adolescent health that has changed the way doctors approach everything from AIDS to obesity by illuminating the impact of social and environmental factors on the health of those of all ages.