Lewis Thomas Prize

Lewis Thomas Prize

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The Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, named for its first recipient, Lewis Thomas
Lewis Thomas
Lewis Thomas was a physician, poet, etymologist, essayist, administrator, educator, policy advisor, and researcher.Thomas was born in Flushing, New York and attended Princeton University and Harvard Medical School...

, is an annual literary prize
Literary award
A literary award is an award presented to an author who has written a particularly lauded piece or body of work. There are awards for forms of writing ranging from poetry to novels. Many awards are also dedicated to a certain genre of fiction or non-fiction writing . There are also awards...

 awarded by Rockefeller University
Rockefeller University
The Rockefeller University is a private university offering postgraduate and postdoctoral education. It has a strong concentration in the biological sciences. It is also known for producing numerous Nobel laureates...

 to scientist
Scientist
A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science. This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word...

s deemed to have accomplished a significant literary achievement: it "recognizes scientists as poets". The award was established in 1993 and is endowed with a nominal US$5,000 purse that scarcely reflects the prestige the award carries. The university gives the prize annually to scientists whose books bridge the gap between the laboratory and the wider world, in the spirit of Lewis Thomas' collection of essays The Lives of a Cell. The Thomas Prize honors "the rare individual who bridges the worlds of science and the humanities -- whose voice and vision can tell us about science's aesthetic and philosophical dimensions, providing not merely new information but cause for reflection, even revelation as in a poem or painting," Nobel laureate
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 Torsten N. Wiesel, M.D., president of the University remarked in 1996.

The prize-giving ceremony, in the form of a lecture, is held in the spring of the following year, giving rise to some conflicting reports of dates even in the University's news releases. The subsequent recipients of the prize, awarded first for the year 1993 to Thomas, have been:
Information about the latest Lewis Thomas Prize winner can be found here.