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Walker Prize

Honoring Excellence

The Walker Prize was established in 1864 by Dr. William Johnson Walker, one of the most eminent surgeons of his era and a generous benefactor of the Boston Society of Natural History, the founding organization of the Museum of Science. This special award was originally established to recognize work in the field of natural history.

In the 1960s, the Walker Prize guidelines were broadened to recognize "meritorious published scientific investigation and discovery" in any scientific field. The recipient must be a noted scientist, professor, or researcher who is a superb science communicator via the written word and is well known for superlative work in her/his field.

Recipients have included doctors, teachers, authors, public policy directors, inventors, entrepreneurs, and Nobel Prize-winning scientists. The awardee is presented with an honorarium and a seated dinner held at the Museum.

Walker Prize Recipients


  • Angela Belcher, PhD
  • W.M. Keck Professor of Energy, Department of Materials Science & Engineering and Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


  • Robert S. Langer, PhD
  • David H. Koch Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


  • John P. Holdren, PhD
  • Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President of the United States; Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government; Professor of Environmental Science, Harvard University; Director, Woods Hole Research Center


  • James J. McCarthy, PhD
  • Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography, Harvard University Co-chair of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)


  • Steve Wozniak
  • Co-Founder, Apple Computer, Inc., Chief Technology Officer, Jazz Technologies, Inc


  • David G. Nathan, MD
  • Physician, Researcher, President Emeritus, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


  • Bernard M. Gordon
  • Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Analogic Corporation


  • Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD
  • Director of National Human Genome Research Institute


  • Paul MacCready, PhD
  • Aeronautical engineer, inventor


  • Phillip A. Sharp, PhD
  • MIT Institute Professor and Director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research


  • M. Judah Folkman, MD
  • Surgeon, Researcher, Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School


  • Howard Gardner, PhD
  • Psychologist, Neurologist, Director of Harvard University's Project Zero


  • Susan Love, MD
  • Surgeon, Advocate for Patients with Breast Cancer


  • Paul C. Sereno, PhD
  • Paleontologist, Professor of Organismal Biology at University of Chicago


  • Mario Molina, PhD
  • Nobel Prize Winner, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry at MIT


  • Robert Allen Weinberg, PhD
  • Professor of Biochemistry at MIT, Whitehead Institute


  • Dudley R. Herschbach, PhD
  • Nobel Prize Winner, Baird Professor of Science at Harvard University


  • Philip Morrison, PhD
  • Institute Professor Emeritus of Physics at MIT

  • Phylis Morrison
  • Teacher, Author


  • Edward Mills Purcell, PhD
  • Nobel Prize Winner, Gerhard Gade University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University


  • Gordon R. Willey, PhD
  • Bowditch Professor of Central American and Mexican Archeology and Ethnology at Harvard University


  • Sherwood L. Washburn, PhD
  • Professor, Department of Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley


  • Richard M. Eakin, PhD
  • Department of Zoology at University of California, Berkeley


  • Alfred C. Redfield, PhD
  • Natural History Scholar


  • Ernst Mayer, PhD
  • Director, Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University


  • Irven DeVore, PhD
  • Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University


  • Robert K. Selander, PhD
  • Ornithologist and Professor of Zoology at University of Texas


  • Howard Ensign Evans, PhD
  • Curator of Insects, Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University


  • Martin H. Moynihan, PhD
  • Director, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama Canal Zone



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