National Award of Nuclear Science & History

Honorees become members of the International Advisory Council to the museum. Past honorees include:

2024: Palo Verde Generating Station has been the nation’s largest electricity maker and clean energy producer for nearly 30 years. With seven owners across four Southwestern states, the plant is a critical infrastructure asset, generating over 32 million megawatt-hours annually – enough power for more than 4 million homes and businesses. Palo Verde has also been a leader in communicating nuclear technology's value to local, regional, and national audiences. By creating positive partnerships with companies across nuclear technology platforms, Palo Verde has helped to advance a connection between nuclear innovation and everyday life. The power plant, located west of Phoenix, AZ, employs about 2000 people and contributes greatly to Veterans Programs, career development platforms, and STEM education. It has been the title sponsor of Nuclear Science Week multiple times. It has created content used to educate everyone on nuclear energy, from nationally elected lawmakers to students ages 5 to 95.

2023: Maria Korsnick is president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear industry’s policy organization in Washington, D.C. Drawing on her engineering background, hands-on experience in reactor operations, and a deep knowledge of energy policy and regulatory issues, Korsnick works to increase understanding of nuclear energy’s economic and environmental benefits among policymakers and the public. Before joining NEI, she was senior vice president of Northeast Operations for Exelon, overseeing the Calvert Cliffs 1 and 2 operations, R.E. Ginna, and Nine Mile Point 1 and 2 nuclear power plants.

2022: The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., is the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the oldest technological research university in the United States, where she has led an extraordinary transformation since 1999. Described by Time Magazine as “perhaps the ultimate role model for women in science,” Dr. Jackson has held senior leadership positions in academia, government, industry, and research. A theoretical physicist, Dr. Jackson holds an S.B. in Physics and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics, both from MIT.

2021: Cynthia C. Kelly is President and founder of the Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the Manhattan Project and its legacy. From 2002 on, AHF led efforts to create a Manhattan Project National Historical Park, working with Congress and Federal, State, and local partners. The park was established in 2015.

2020: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, there was no Einstein Gala or Awardee

2019: Randall L. Stephenson is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AT&T, Inc. AT&T has invested to become a global leader in the technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) space, providing integrated solutions that range from premium content and video entertainment to mobility and high-speed Internet, to IP network services, security and the Internet of Things (IoT).

2018: Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant and author. He leads NASA’s $880M New Horizons mission that successfully explored the Pluto system and is now exploring the Kuiper Belt—the farthest exploration in the history of humankind.

2017: U.S. Women in Nuclear is the premier network of over 8,000 women and men who work in nuclear- and radiation-related fields around the country. The membership includes professionals in various nuclear-related fields including Chief Nuclear Officers, reactor operators, engineers, researchers, health physicists, human resource professionals, nuclear communications professionals, policymakers, and lawyers in the nuclear industry to name a few.

2016: Barry A. Siegel, M.D. is currently Professor of Radiology and Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, Director of the Division of Nuclear Medicine at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, and a member of the University’s Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center.

2015: Gwyneth Cravens, author and environmentalist, wrote Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy. She has also written about her pro-nuclear stance, appearing in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s Magazine, and Discover. She has also appeared as one of the environmental thinkers of “CNN Films: Pandora’s Promise.”

2014: Southern Company, based in Atlanta, is one of America’s largest electricity producers. As a leading U.S. producer of clean, safe, reliable, and affordable electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and is a licensed operator of three nuclear-generating plants. The company received the 2012 Edison Award from the Edison Electric Institute for its leadership in new nuclear development and is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune’s annual World’s Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings.

2013: Admiral Kirkland H. Donald of the US Navy served as the Director, of Naval Nuclear Propulsion and Deputy Administrator of, National Nuclear Security Administration's Naval Reactors from November 2004 to November 2012. He previously served as Commander, of Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and Commander, of Submarine Allied Command, Atlantic. He retired from the U.S. Navy on January 1, 2013, completing over 37 years of dedicated service.

2012: Dr. Lisa Randall is an American theoretical physicist and a leading expert on particle physics and cosmology. She is the Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University, where she works on several of the competing models of string theory in the quest to explain the fabric of the universe. Her most well-known contribution to the field is the Randall-Sundrum model, first published in 1999 with Raman Sundrum.

2011: Dr. Helmut Engelbrecht, Chief Executive Officer of URENCO Ltd., a world leader in uranium enrichment technology and in the supply of uranium enrichment services, was the first industrialist and the first foreign citizen to receive the National Award for Nuclear Science & History.

2010: Murray Gell-Mann, Ph.D., Nobel Prize Laureate. Gell-Mann is one of today’s most prominent scientists. He is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute as well as the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, where he joined the faculty in 1955. In 1969 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the theory of elementary particles. He is the author of The Quark and the Jaguar, published in 1994, in which his ideas on simplicity and complexity are presented to a general readership.

2009: Dr. Patrick Moore is a co-founder of Greenpeace and served for nine years as President of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as a Director of Greenpeace International. Dr. Moore currently serves as Chair and Chief Scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd., a consultancy focusing on environmental policy and communications in forestry, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, mining, biodiversity, chemicals, energy, and climate change.

2008: Senator Pete V. Domenici was honored for his steadfast support of the nuclear power industry as well as support of the national labs and his stance on STEM education. The Senator has been a major supporter of the Museum.

2007: Mr. Richard Rhodes was honored as historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Making the Atomic Bomb,” and later books such as “Dark Sun” and “Arsenals of Folly.”

2006: Dr. Albert Ghiroso, discoverer or co-discoverer of 12 elements in the Actinide elements in the Periodic Table. Dr. Ghiroso currently works at Lawrence Livermore lab as an emeritus professor; his past activities with notable scientists include work with Dr. Glenn Seaborg and support of early atomic weapon testing verification by the USSR.

2005: Ambassador C. Paul Robinson, will be honored for his work as the leader of Sandia National Labs, for his impact on international nuclear non-proliferation accords and involvement in worldwide nuclear energy policy.

2004: Dr. Ines Triay, was honored for community involvement, communication, policy, and scientific work with the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant project. Dr. Triay was the first woman recipient of the award.

2003: Dr. Andrew Kadak, was honored for his work as a prominent senior educator in nuclear engineering practices at the university level leading students to design nuclear power plants that will compete in tomorrow’s world.

2002: Sen. Harrison (Jack) Schmitt, was honored as the last man to walk on the moon serving as an astronaut on Apollo 17. The Senator was also honored for dealing with arms control treaties and international nuclear proliferation policy.

2001: Dr. David Kuhl, was the inventor of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) a medical scanning technology that led to the broad application of nuclear medical imaging technology.

2000: Gen. Paul W. Tibbetts was the Military Colonel responsible for operations of the 509th Composite Group and pilot of the B-29 Enola Gay that dropped the first atomic bomb ending WWII.

1999: Robert Henderson, Participant in the Manhattan Project was an early Sandia Laboratory leader and prominent scientist who also received an Academy Award for innovations in lighting design.

1998: Dr. Glenn Seaborg, former head of AEC, co-discoverer of Plutonium, and medical and nuclear researcher. Dr. Seaborg initiated this award and granted permission for his name to be used for the entry-level Einstein Society membership category.