September 16, 2014 by Claudia Scholz
This week marks the second round of the “Golden Goose Awards.”
The purpose of the “Golden Goose” award is to demonstrate the human and economic benefits of federally funded research by highlighting examples of seemingly obscure studies that have led to major breakthroughs and resulted in significant societal impact….Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) originally conceived of the Golden Goose award as a means of educating Members of Congress and the general public about the value of federal funding of basic scientific research. The name of the award is a play on the “Golden Fleece” awards issued between 1975 and 1988 by Senator William Proxmire (D-WI), which targeted specific federally funded research grants as examples of government waste.
The awards highlight government-funded research that sounds silly at first blush but that in fact has extraordinary societal benefits. This year’s winners include
- Larry Smarr who pushed for federal funding of supercomputing centers, leading to the development of the first web browsers,
- Tiffany Field, Gary Evoniuk, Cynthia Kuhn, and Saul Schanberg, whose research on rat babies led to transformation in the care of premature human infants, and
- Preston McAfee, Paul Milgrom, and Robert Wilson, whose work in game theory and mathematics allowed the Federal Communications Commission to develop an auction system for allocating radio frequencies.
Here’s a video featuring last year’s winners: