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2017 Golden Goose Award Honors Six Researchers for Groundbreaking Work

The sixth annual Golden Goose Award ceremony will celebrate three teams of scientists whose seemingly odd or obscure federally funded research turned out to have significant societal impact.

The awardees will be honored at a ceremony tonight at the Library of Congress, where they will receive their awards from a bipartisan group of members of Congress. The scientists are:

-     Kaichang Li, a wood chemist whose work led to the invention of a soy-based plywood adhesive, an alternative to urea-formaldehyde adhesive known to cause cancer.

-     Joyce Longcore, Elaine Lamirande, Don Nichols, and Allan Pessier, whose study of an obscure fungi   helped unmask what was causing massive declines in amphibian populations, saving many species from extinction.

-     Lotfi Zadeh, whose research on mathematics and the logic of imprecise information or “fuzzy sets” led to numerous data analysis applications in everyday items, including vacuum cleaners, auto-focus cameras, air conditioners, and anti-lock brakes.

“As a founding partner of the Golden Goose Award, the Association of American Universities (AAU) is delighted to showcase the groundbreaking and vital work that the partnership between the federal government and research universities has created, noted AAU President Mary Sue Coleman. “Every day, all across our country, innovative research is being conducted at our universities and this research keeps our nation’s economy strong and resilient.”

About the Golden Goose Award

The Golden Goose Award honors scientists whose federally funded work may have been considered silly, odd, or obscure when first conducted, but has resulted in significant benefits to society. In 2012, a coalition of business, university and scientific organizations created the Golden Goose Award, conceived by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) as a strong counterpoint to criticisms of basic research as wasteful federal spending such as the late Sen. William Proxmire’s (D-WI) Golden Fleece Award. Learn more about the award, including past winners and supporters:

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Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities comprises 62 distinguished institutions that continually advance society through education, research, and discovery.

Our universities earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for academic research, are improving human life and wellbeing through research, and are educating tomorrow’s visionary leaders and global citizens.

AAU members collectively help shape policy for higher education, science, and innovation; promote best practices in undergraduate and graduate education; and strengthen the contributions of research universities to society.

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