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Alan T. Waterman Award

2013 Call for Nominations

Nominations for the 2013 Alan T. Waterman Award will be accepted from August 1 through October 31, 2012.

A PDF version of the call for nominations flyer, which includes the eligibility and selection criteria, is available here: nsf_watermanaward_2013callfornominations_120625.pdf.

2012 Alan T. Waterman Awardees

The National Science Foundation is pleased to announce that Scott Aaronson of MIT and Robert J. Wood of Harvard University are the winners of the 2012 Alan T. Waterman Award. This is the first time that two individuals received the award.

Scott Aaronson is an associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. He works with the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT's largest interdepartmental lab. A theoretical computational scientist, Dr. Aaronson explores the limitations of quantum computers, as well as general computational complexity theory.

Robert J. Wood is an associate professor in Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is also a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Dr. Wood is the founder of the Harvard Microrobotics Lab, which uses microfabrication techniques to develop biologically-inspired microscopic robots.

For more information on these awardees, please see the press release at /news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=123406.


Congress established the Alan T. Waterman Award in August 1975 to mark the 25th Anniversary of the National Science Foundation and to honor its first Director. The annual award recognizes an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by the National Science Foundation. In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of $1,000,000 over a five year period for scientific research or advanced study in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, social, or other sciences at the institution of the recipient's choice.

The Waterman Award fact sheet, prepared by the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, is available at /news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=102999.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must be 35 years of age or younger or not more than 7 years beyond receipt of the Ph.D. degree by December 31 of the year in which they are nominated. For example, candidates eligible for the 2011 award must be born on or after 1975, or received their Ph.D. on or after 2003.

  • Candidates should have demonstrated exceptional individual achievements in scientific or engineering research of sufficient quality to place them at the forefront of their peers. Criteria include originality, innovation, and significant impact on the field.

Nomination Requirements

  • Nomination packages consist of a nomination and four letters of reference submitted via FastLane /go.php?url=

  • The names of four references are required for each nomination. The references cannot come from the nominee’s home institution. References must be requested by the nominator and submitted by the established FastLane deadline.

  • Nominations will not be reviewed by the Committee unless all the requirements are met.

  • Institutions may nominate an unlimited number of individuals.


Please see the Frequently Asked Questions page for specific questions about the award criteria or the nomination process. For any other questions, or for additional information, please contact:

Mayra N. Montrose
Office of Integrative Activities
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Rm. 1270
Arlington, VA 22230
Phone: 703-292-8040
Fax: 703-292-9040

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