The annual awards honor the extraordinary achievements and outstanding promise of exceptional young scientists and engineers in the United States in three categories — physical sciences and engineering, chemistry, and life sciences. The three national laureates, each of whom will receive a cash award of $250,000, were selected from a pool of nominations submitted by a hundred and sixty-two of the most prominent universities and research institutions in the nation.
This year's Blavatnik Award winners are Rachel Wilson, professor of neurobiology at Harvard University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, who was recognized for her research on sensory processing and neural circuitry in the fruit fly; Marin Soljačić, professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was recognized for his numerous discoveries of novel phenomena related to the interaction of light and matter and his work on wireless power transfer technology; and Adam Cohen, professor of chemistry and chemical biology and physics at Harvard and an HHMI investigator, who was recognized for breakthroughs in cellular imaging that allow for the observation of neural activity in real-time at single-cell resolution.
"The national laureates represent an incredible level of talent," said Len Blavatnik, founder and chairman of Access Industries, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, and a New York Academy of Sciences board member. "Their discoveries will change our world in countless positive ways. On behalf of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, I congratulate this year's winners and finalists and look forward to following their future accomplishments."