Research News

NASA Goddard Scientist to Receive Heinz Award

Dr. Jim Hansen, Chief of the Goddard Space Flight Center's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, N.Y., and one of this year's recipients of a $250,000 Heinz Award, receives his award tonight at a ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

The award, bestowed annually by the Heinz Family Foundation since 1993, honors the memory of Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., who died in a plane crash in 1991. The award is given in recognition of people who enhance the lives of others.

In announcing this year's winners, the Heinz Award cited Dr. Hansen "for his exemplary leadership in the critical and often-contentious debate over the threat of global climate change. The theory that industrial pollution continues to create an atmospheric 'greenhouse effect' or warming has pitted scientist against scientist and politician against politician. "

In 1988, Hansen went before Congress to explain how serious the potential for global warming really was. Dr. Hansen courageously testified that the time had come to recognize that the "greenhouse effect" was real and that new and cleaner sources of energy had to be found.

"I hope that this will encourage other scientists to speak their mind about scientific matters of concern to the public" said Hansen.

Also cited in the Heinz Award announcement is Dr. Hansen's work to recognize "the need and the potential for researchers to influence science education." Hansen, along with GISS' Carolyn Harris, co-founded the NASA Institute on Climate and Planets (ICP).

The Institute encourages minority students to pursue scientific careers. The ICP is a research, science education and minority outreach program. The ICP involves pre-college and undergraduate students in current NASA climate and planetary investigations in collaboration with teachers and faculty from their schools and colleges and research scientist.

The founder of Apple Computer Inc., a psychiatrist, an arms control advocate and two dance instructors are among the six recipients of this year's Heinz Award.

GISS is a division of Goddard's Earth Sciences Directorate. Current research, under the direction of Dr. Hansen, emphasizes a broad study of global change, which is an interdisciplinary research initiative addressing natural and man-made changes in the environment that occur on various time scales and affect the habitability of our planet. A key objective of GISS research is prediction of atmospheric and climate changes in the 21st century.

Hansen is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society. He received his bachelor's degree in Physics and Mathematics, master's degree in Astronomy and his Ph.D. in Physics, all from the University of Iowa.

Hansen lives in Ridgewood, N.J. with his wife Anniek. They have two children and one grandchild.

Related Links

GISS Institute of Climate and Planets

Media Contacts

Leslie McCarthy, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, N.Y., 212-678-5507, leslie.m.mccarthy@nasa.gov