Golden Goose Award

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The Golden Goose Award is a United States award that officially recognizes scientists whose federally funded basic research has led to innovations or inventions which have a significant impact on humanity or society. The results have been significant health and economic benefits. The award has bi-partisan support in Congress and is organized by a number of notable organizations (see section below).

In addition, the burgeoning research has often had odd-sounding names. In modern times such titles were the subject of ridicule by U.S. Legislators and some of the public. Most notable was the late Senator William Proxmire and his monthly Golden Fleece Awards. Senator Proxmire directly ridiculed a USDA study on the sexual behavior of a worm species lethal to livestock that by now has saved the cattle industry $20 billion. The results forced the senator to apologize.

Another study oddly entitled "Acoustic Trauma in the Guinea Pig" has resulted in a treatment for hearing loss in infants. Other research funded by U.S. federal agencies have become widely used technologies such as laser technology, the internet, fiber optics, the Global Positioning System, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer touch screens and lithium-ion batteries.[1][2][3][4] Recipients received the award in a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.


With pressure to cut the U.S. federal budget, along with the significance of underscoring basic research, and as a counter to Proxmire's awards, this award was created. Awardess include Nobel Prize winners. The purpose of these awards is to "demonstrate the human and economic benefits of federally funded research by highlighting examples of seemingly obscure or unusual studies that have led to major breakthroughs and have had a significant impact on society".[5] The purpose of the award has also been described as follows:

"Such innovation has been critically important to economic growth in the United States, and will be even more so as global scientific research becomes increasingly competitive".[3]

"Ever since the days of the Golden Fleece Awards, spearheaded by the late Senator William Proxmire, some policymakers have delighted in turning quirky or unusual research titles into a punch line".[1][4]

"The United States may now risk falling behind in scientific discoveries as other countries increase their science funding. We need to get serious about science".[4]


Historical examples[edit]

The bi-partisan group of legislatures that back the Golden Goose award and the founding organizations (see next section) cite odd-titled research of the past which led to widely used scientific advances. The first cited example is when Sir Alexander Fleming published "Anti-Bacterial Substance in Filtrates of Broth" in 1926 which has become known as penicillin. Second, X-rays probably sounded odd in 1895 after Wilhelm Röntgen named such phenomena that caused a glow in a nearby chemically coated screen. Third, studies on the exretion of urine in dogs and the exretion of insulin by dog fish ultimately led to advancements in understanding diabetes which earned the National Medal of Science.

Founding Organizations[edit]

Some of the founding organizations for this award are the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (A۰P۰L۰U), the Breakthrough Institute, the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), and The Science Coalition (TSC) [5]


  1. ^ a b Ginger Pinholster (April 30, 2012). "Bipartisan Launch of Golden Goose Award Celebrates the Contributions of Basic Science". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  2. ^ Davis, Hallowell (1953). "Acoustic Trauma in the Guinea Pig". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 25 (6): 1180. Bibcode:1953ASAJ...25.1180D. doi:10.1121/1.1907260. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  3. ^ a b E. W. Lempinen (September 13, 2012). "U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner: "It’s Time to Get Serious about Science"". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  4. ^ a b c Jim Cooper and Alan I. Leshner (September 9, 2012). "It’s time to get serious about science". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  5. ^ a b "First Golden Goose Awards Given for Seemingly Odd—but High-Impact—Research". American Association for the Advancement of Science. September 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 

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