The Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest is awarded annually by Scripps Oceanography. Recipients have included newscaster Walter Cronkite, primatologist Jane Goodall, and filmmaker James Cameron, among others.
Bolden served as NASA Administrator from July 2009 to January 2017. In this position, Bolden oversaw a new era of exploration focused on full utilization of the International Space Station as well as the ground-breaking landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars and development of commercial space vehicles.
He also prepared the agency for manned space exploration beyond the moon through development of the Orion spacecraft that will carry astronauts to deep space destinations, including asteroids and Mars.
Prior to his appointment to that post by President Barack Obama, Bolden served in the Marines for 34 years, including 14 years as a NASA astronaut. He traveled to orbit four times aboard the Space Shuttle,.
“From a Marine aviator, to astronaut, to NASA administrator, Mr. Bolden has spent a lifetime in service to science, to his country, and to the world,” said the Nierenberg family. “We especially recognize his extraordinary achievements in guiding NASA towards its new roles in planetary exploration and sophisticated technology development.”
“Being selected to receive the 2017 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest surpasses my wildest imagination of any recognition I could possibly receive for being allowed to pursue a passion for education inherited from my parents — Charles and Ethel Bolden — who devoted their entire lifetimes to teaching and making the lives of black students in segregated Columbia, SC, better and more productive,” Bolden said.
The Nierenberg Prize was created through a gift from the Nierenberg family to honor the memory of William A. Nierenberg, (1919-2000), a renowned national science leader who served Scripps Oceanography as director from 1965 to 1986.
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