Washburn Award

Honoring Excellence

Through its board of trustees and prizes and awards committee, the Museum of Science presents the Bradford Washburn Award to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution toward public understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in our lives. The Museum honors each awardee with an embossed golden medal, a reception, and a seated dinner.

In 1964 an anonymous donor established this award, named for H. Bradford Washburn Jr., the explorer-cartographer and Museum director from 1939 – 1980. Through a restricted endowment fund, the donor intended to recognize in perpetuity the importance of making scientific understanding available to all. The Museum is grateful for the philanthropy that makes this award possible.

Photo at right: 2013 Washburn honoree Neil Alden Armstrong, NASA Commander, Apollo 11.

Photo © NASA photo

The Event

Award Winners

  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2013

    Neil Alden Armstrong NASA Commander, Apollo 11 (received posthumously) Learn more
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2012

    Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage Co-hosts of Discovery Channel's MythBusters Learn more
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2011

    Jean-Michel Cousteau Explorer, environmentalist, educator, oceanographer, and filmmaker Learn more
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2010

    Atul Gawande, MD, MPH Surgeon, professor, author, New Yorker staff writer Learn more
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2009

    Thomas L. Friedman Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times columnist Learn more
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2008

    Neil deGrasse Tyson, PhD Frederick P. Rose Director, Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History; television host, NOVA scienceNOW Learn more
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2007

    Bill Bryson Author, A Short History of Nearly Everything
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2006

    David Suzuki, PhD Scientist, environmentalist, and broadcaster
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2005

    Dean Kamen Inventor
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2004

    Brian Greene, PhD Physicist
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2003

    Alan Alda Television host, Scientific American Frontiers
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2002

    Greg MacGillivray Large-format filmmaker
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2001

    Dava Sobel Author
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    2000

    Ira Flatow Author, television and radio producer and host
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1999

    Nicholas Negroponte, PhD Cofounder and director, MIT Media Lab
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1998

    Timothy Johnson, MD, MPH ABC Medical Editor
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1997

    Daniel Goleman, PhD Psychologist, author, science journalist
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1996

    Edward O. Wilson, PhD Evolutionary biologist, entomologist
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1995

    Sylvia A. Earle, PhD Sea explorer, conservationist
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1994

    Paula S. Apsell Journalist, film producer
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1993

    David A. Macaulay Writer, illustrator
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1992

    Sally Kristen Ride, PhD First American woman in space
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1991

    C. Everett Koop, MD, ScD Former surgeon general of the United States
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1990

    John Henry Hemming, CMG, DLitt Director, Royal Geographical Society
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1989

    Bradford and Barbara Washburn 50th Anniversary No award presented
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1988

    National Geographic Society
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1987

    Sheila Evans Widnall, ScD Teacher, researcher, aerospace engineer
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1986

    Robert D. Ballard, PhD Director, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1985

    Brigadier General Charles E. Yeager, USAF (Retired) First to break the sound barrier
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1984

    Stephen Jay Gould, PhD Harvard professor of geology and curator of invertebrate paleontology, Museum of Comparative Zoology
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1983

    Sir David Attenborough Filmmaker
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1982

    Thor Heyerdahl, PhD Student of prehistoric navigation
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1981

    Roger Tory Peterson, PhD Artist, teacher, ornithologist
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1980

    Mary D. Leakey, PhD Paleoanthropologist
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1980

    Kenneth F. Weaver Science Editor, National Geographic Magazine
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1979

    Isaac Asimov, PhD Science author
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1978

    Carl Sagan, PhD Author and professor of astronomy and space sciences, Cornell University
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1977

    Sir Arthur Charles Clarke Science and science-fiction writer
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1976

    Loren C. Eiseley, PhD Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1975

    Jean Mayer, PhD, ScD Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1974

    Jane Goodall, PhD Wildlife researcher, primatologist
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1974

    Baron Hugo Van Lawick Nature photographer
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1973

    Rene Dubos, PhD Professor of biology, Rockefeller University, New York
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1972

    Walter Sullivan Science Editor, The New York Times
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1970

    Walter Cronkite Senior CBS News correspondent
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1969

    Sir George Taylor, DSc Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1968

    George Wald, PhD Professor of biology, Harvard University
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1967

    Donald Baxter MacMillan Rear Admiral, USNR (Retired)
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1966

    Gerard Piel Publisher, Scientific American
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1965

    Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau Director, Institut Oceanographique et Musee, Monaco
  • Washburn Award Recipients

    1964

    Melville Bell Grosvenor, PhD President, National Geographic Society