For their visionary interdisciplinary research on the altitudes where people live, and their work's wide-ranging impacts on society, Drs. Joel E. Cohen and Christopher Small have been selected as the third winners of the 2015 Golden Goose Award.
Supported by funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and using population data obtained from CIESIN —Cohen and Small brought their disparate areas of expertise together to pursue a shared curiosity: how many people live at any given altitude on Earth and how are they distributed? The result was the first global map or "hypsographic demography" of how the human population is distributed in altitude--an important factor in our exposure to risk, our human health and even how computers function. The broader impact of their work has been a complete and gratifying surprise, not only for the researchers themselves, but also for the many unexpected beneficiaries. It has provided crucial insights in areas as diverse as food production and packaging, semiconductor manufacturing, and biomedical research and development.
Founded in 2012, the Golden Goose A ward recognizes researchers whose obscure, federally funded research has returned significant benefits to society. Since then, groups of researchers have been recognized each year for breakthroughs in the development of life-saving medicines and treatments; game-changing social and behavioral insights; and major technological advances related to national security, energy, the environment, communications, and public health. The Golden Goose Award has strong bipartisan support, and winners are honored every year at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., where Members of Congress of both parties speak to the importance of the award and of federal funding of scientific research.
Joel & Chris were honored, along with the two other teams of researchers, at the fourth annual Golden Goose Award Ceremony at the Library of Congress on September 17th 2015.
Congratulations Chris & Joel.
"There are so many examples in science where things were found via serendipity and observation...and followed through." - Gary Evoniuk, 2014 Golden Goose Awardee