Bruce Alberts

BruceAlberts_450_600RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is honored to announce that Bruce Alberts, PhD, is the 2022 recipient of the Gold Key Award. As the Society's highest and most prestigious honor, the Gold Key Award is presented to a member who has made extraordinary contributions to their profession and has fostered critical innovations to enhance the health of the research enterprise, to cultivate integrity in research, or to promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition.

Dr. Alberts will accept the Gold Key Award and address the Society on November 5 in Alexandria, Virginia during the awards banquet at the inaugural International Forum on Research Excellence (IFoRE).

"It's nearly impossible to discuss the greatest contributors in the field of biology over the past 50 years without mentioning Dr. Bruce Alberts," said Jamie Vernon, executive director and CEO of Sigma Xi. “His contributions to education and improving scientific integrity for the betterment of society exemplify the highest values that Sigma Xi and the Gold Key Award represent."

A prominent biochemist with a strong commitment to the improvement of science and mathematics education, Dr. Alberts currently serves as the Chancellor’s Leadership Chair in Biochemistry and Biophysics for Science and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, to which he returned after serving two six-year terms as the president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). He has earned many honors and awards, including the National Medal of Science, given to him by President Barack Obama in 2014, after serving as one of the former President’s first three United States Science Envoys, assigned to Indonesia (2009-2011).

Widely acclaimed for his work in the fields of molecular biology and biochemistry, Dr. Alberts is also recognized for his co-authoring since 1983 of The Molecular Biology of the Cell, now in its 7th edition and still a preeminent, widely used textbook. His accomplished research career has long been matched by a passionate commitment to revolutionizing STEM education and the public understanding of science. During his tenure at the NAS, he was instrumental in developing the landmark National Science Education Standards that strongly stressed inquiry- based science teaching, affecting school systems nationwide.

Committed in his international work to the promotion of the “creativity, openness and tolerance that are inherent to science,” Alberts believes that “scientists all around the world must now band together to help create more rational, scientifically-based societies that find dogmatism intolerable.”

Dr. Alberts received his PhD in Biophysics in 1965 from Harvard University, where he also completed his undergraduate studies with summa cum laude distinction in 1960. He has been a member of Sigma Xi since 1960.

The symbolism of the Gold Key Award pays homage to the early days of Sigma Xi (late 1800s to early 1900s), when induction into the Society was often accompanied by the presentation of a small gold key. The key was routinely attached as a charm to a bracelet or chain that held a pocket watch, which was the style of the day, and represented pride in the science or engineering accomplishments of the holder. Previous recipients of the award include Shirley M. MalcomWalter E. Massey, Gordon E. Moore, and Norman R. Augustine.