Former MAE Student Frances H Arnold '79 named a 2019 Franklin Institute Laureate

Frances Arnold

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Franklin Institute announced today the recipients of the 2019 Franklin Institute Awards, bestowing six Benjamin Franklin Medals for transformative advances and global breakthroughs in science and technology, and two Bower Awards—one for extraordinary business leadership, and another for achievement in science, which carries a $250,000 monetary prize. The laureates will take the stage at a gala ceremony and dinner on Thursday, April 11, 2019, in the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute, the culmination of a weeklong suite of events designed to provide direct public access to the world-renowned laureates.

The Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science is presented to chemical engineer and 2018 Nobel Laureate Frances Arnold, Ph.D., who harnessed the power of nature to make manufacturing and energy production cleaner and greener. Indra K. Nooyi, the first female CEO of PepsiCo receives the Bower Award for Business Leadership for her transformational work and global focus on healthier products, the empowerment of women, and the encouragement of girls in STEM. Among the Benjamin Franklin Medal recipients is immunologist and 2018 Nobel Laureate James Allison, Ph.D., whose discoveries have led to new cancer treatments for some of the deadliest forms of the disease.

The recognized accomplishments include:

-   The development of fundamental concepts of artificial intelligence that allow machines to learn like the human brain.      

-   The creation of the world's smallest wearable "smart" medical monitoring device, revolutionizing the user experience.

-   Innovative technologies that have revolutionized the solar energy industry and wireless communication.

-   A new therapeutic approach that uses the immune system to successfully treat cancer.

-   Scientific studies and environmental policies to mitigate acid rain and preserve fragile ecosystems.

-   Harnessing the power of biological evolution to improve the safety and sustainability of chemical manufacturing.

-   Elucidating processes of human memory formation that shed light on Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders.  

-   Transformative leadership of a global brand and a commitment to the empowerment of women and girls in STEM.

In the spirit of change and innovation embodied by Benjamin Franklin, the Franklin Institute Awards publicly recognize and encourage extraordinary accomplishments in science and technology since the Institute was founded in 1824. The 2019 recipients join those who came before them—including Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, and Bill Gates—in the Institute's unparalleled history of honoring the greatest minds of the last 195 years. To date, 120 laureates are also Nobel Prize recipients, including 2019 Franklin Institute Awards laureates Dr. Frances Arnold and Dr. James Allison.

"Philadelphia is long known for leading the way in science, technology, and innovation," said Larry Dubinski, President and CEO of The Franklin Institute. "The Franklin Institute Awards Program brings to light some of the greatest minds of our time, who are recognized here in the birthplace of science and innovation, for accomplishments that will inspire us all and transform our world."

The Franklin Institute Awards Ceremony and Dinner is the culmination of a week-long sequence of inspirational events designed shine an important spotlight on the advancements in science and technology, as well as extraordinary business leadership.  Throughout the week, public and educational programs provide direct and unprecedented access to the laureates and their work. Bank of America returns in 2019 as Presenting Sponsor of the Awards Ceremony and Dinner for the 17th consecutive year and their support of the Awards Program continues through the Institute's 200th anniversary in 2024.

2019 Franklin Institute Awards | Citations

Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science
Frances H. Arnold, Ph.D., FREng
California Institute of Technology
Citation: For pioneering the development of directed protein evolution—a paradigm shift in the engineering of biological catalysts that mimics natural evolution in a laboratory setting and enables greener, less energy-intensive, and less polluting manufacturing processes.