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Golden Goose Honors Basic Science that Ultimately Transforms our Lives

September 11, 2019

The American Association for the Advancement of Science hosted the 8th Annual Golden Goose Awards. This award honors federally-funded research that may have at first seemed “silly”, frivolous, or obscure, but have led to breakthroughs with lasting and broad impact. FABBS was a sponsor for this well-attended event, held at the Library of Congress.

Representatives Davis, Bonamici, Foster, and Tonko

In past years, The Golden Goose Awards has honored former FABBS Board member Mahzarin Banaji, Anthony Greenwald, and current FABBS Board member Brian Nosek for their eye-opening work on implicit bias and Walter Mischel, Yuichi Shoda, Philip Peake for their research on delayed gratification with their classic “marshmallow test“. Peter Bearman, Barbara Entwisle, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Ronald Rindfuss, and Richard Udry were also honored for what would become The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a dataset on what factors affect adolescent health and behaviors, and the impact on later phases in life.

This year, the awardees were Jack Levin and Frederik Bang for their work on the Limulus Amebocyte Lysate Test, which began from research on the blood from horseshoe crabs, Noel Rose and Ernest Witebsky for their discovery of autoimmune diseases in humans while performing research on rabbits, and David Sachar for his contribution on developing a rehydration therapy for cholera, which began with a experiment involving frog skin and sugar.

Rep Cooper, “Father Goose”

The Golden Goose Awards has always had strong bipartisan support, primarily through the “Congressional Gaggle.” These Members of Congress include Representatives Jim Cooper (D-TN), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Bill Foster (D-IL), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) as well as Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Cory Gardner (R-CO).

Several members of Congress shared inspiring and supportive words at the beginning portion of the ceremony. Rep Bonamici, who serves on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, said “These stories we’re going to learn about show the value of persistence in the scientific endeavor.” Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) stressed that we should not play politics with science, especially since it is integral in our innovation-based society.

Rep Cooper, nicknamed “Father Goose”, reminded us that “science is a team sport…and you cannot have too many cheerleaders.” Cooper continued “[These scientists] might not be household names, but they’ve led discoveries that have literally changed the whole world.”

Another highlight of the night was during the awardee panel, when the host, Frank Sesno, asked the awardees about the role of federal funding in their work. Dr. Sachar, dressed in his uniform from his time in the U.S. Public Health Service Corps, led off with conviction, “Federal funding was everything”.

Learn more about the awardees in this documentary video, sponsored in part by FABBS:

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