Public Release: 

2018 Golden Goose Award recognizes five researchers and their basic research that benefits society

Researchers to be honored at Sept. 13 award ceremony at Library of Congress

American Association for the Advancement of Science

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The seventh annual Golden Goose Award ceremony will recognize three teams of scientists whose silly-sounding research has returned serious benefits to society. Led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the award committee includes several science and higher education organizations and a bipartisan group of Congressional supporters.

Note: Media are welcome to attend the award ceremony at the Library of Congress on September 13 at 5:30 p.m. EDT. Please RSVP to

Video footage of each of the winners is also available. The videos, which are linked in the titles below, are embargoed until 8:00 a.m. EDT on September 13, 2018. Video credit: 522 Productions.

The 2018 Golden Goose Award winners are:

Implicit Bias, Explicit Science

Mahzarin Banaji, Anthony Greenwald and Brian Nosek

For these social scientists, the early days of the internet offered a new way to experiment. Mahzarin Banaji and her mentor, Anthony Greenwald, have spent decades researching and developing the concept of "implicit bias," unintentional, unconscious biases that may impact decision-making. In 1998, graduate student Brian Nosek developed a simple web-based tool to aid in the research; the still-running website has since collected millions of data sets. The idea of implicit bias, once surprising, has now found diverse applications in boardrooms, classrooms, hospitals and more.

Chickens, Cells and Cytokines

Stanley Cohen

In a sense, it was "spoiled" eggs - spoiled in that they didn't work for his first experiment - that led Stanley Cohen to find evidence of what he named "cytokines," small proteins that cells use to communicate. Cohen's exploration of eggs in the failed experiment was a critical step toward discoveries that led to new therapeutic approaches to cancer and autoimmune diseases.

The Goose Gland: Discoveries in Immunology

Bruce Glick (in memoriam)

As a graduate student, Bruce Glick was determined to figure out the purpose of a mystery gland found in geese, known as the bursa of Fabricius. His studies revealed that the gland was linked to the immune system, and the insights from this initial unexpected finding have helped lead to new frontiers in cancer treatment.

"I am proud to join this bipartisan group of lawmakers as we recognize and celebrate scientific success that benefits our society," said Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who joined other Congressional supporters of the award this year. "We must continue to invest in curiosity-driven scientific research in order to remain the global leader in innovation."

"Who knew that studying geese, eggs and bias could improve cancer treatment and the understanding of how we think? That's what this year's winners have done: transform the ordinary into the miraculous," said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN). "This is science at its best, and the government must invest in it."

"AAAS is proud to support the Golden Goose Award, highlighting scientific success stories that would not have been possible without federal funding," said Rush Holt, chief executive officer of AAAS. "These scientists have changed the world in unpredictable ways, and we applaud their curiosity, their tenacity and their achievements."


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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