The National Academy of Sciences Council has selected Eugenie C. Scott to receive its most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal. Established in 1914, the medal is presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. The Council chose Scott for championing the teaching of evolution in the United States and for providing leadership to the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).
Scott, a physical anthropologist by training, became the first executive director of the National Center for Science Education in 1987. Beginning with a loose network of supporters scattered around the country and a few private grants, she has developed NCSE into the nation’s leading advocate for the teaching of evolution in public schools. Through lectures, television appearances, and articles, she has explained the process of scientific inquiry and defended science education against creationist challenges. Scott and the NCSE have served as pro bono consultants in state and federal court cases on science standards, including the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial in which the teaching of intelligent design was held by a federal court to be unconstitutional.
“Eugenie Scott has worked tirelessly and very effectively to improve public understanding of both the nature of science and the science of evolution,” said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. “She makes the case for science again and again.”