Awards

Golden Goose Awards illuminate the importance of research funding

Scientists recognized for using marshmallows used to test children’s self-control, using cats to gain vision understanding, and mapping human populations for unexpected outcomes

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Federally funded scientific research has a zealous advocate in US Representative Jim Cooper of Tennessee. As the “father” of the Golden Goose Award, he spoke passionately about how the government is failing to fund important research at the level needed.

Science is the purest definition of a public good. That's what economists would say that individuals don't support the needed funding, but governments and societies as a whole must support it. Elsevier knows this; our institutions know this. The colleges and universities of America are the glory of the world, and we need to keep their research base strong and we do that through government funding.

The Congressman made those remarks September 17 in the presentation of the 2015 Golden Goose Awards at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, which was attended by policymakers and more than 400 members of the scientific community.

Elsevier CEO Ron Mobed talks about the importance of the Golden Goose award and government funding for research.Each year, Golden Goose showcases seemingly obscure studies that have led to results with significant societal impact. Recipients are selected by university research leaders and leading scientists in related disciplines and honored at an annual award ceremony.

With Elsevier as the award’s first benefactor, CEO Ron Mobed joined in the celebrations. At a luncheon for the awardees, he commented on the importance of the award:

The concept of the Golden Goose Awards is about the importance of basic research and the academic freedom to pursue research however the researcher feels appropriate. The best person to understand where the research should go is the researcher himself or herself. … By allowing scientists to follow their noses, over time we can attack the biggest challenges that research faces in the world.

The 2015 winners

Here are the winners of this year’s Golden Goose Awards and their contributions. (You can also read the research papers they published with Elsevier.)

  • Using marshmallows to determine children’s self-control. Psychologists Dr. Walter Mischel, Robert Johnston Niven Professor Of Humane Letters in the Department of Psychology, Columbia University; Dr. Yuichi Shoda, Department of Psychology, University of Washington; and Dr. Philip Peake, Professor, Chair of the IRB, Smith College have had their research supported for over 50 years by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation. Dr. Mischel was once told he should seek funding for his “Marshmallow Test” from a candy manufacturer, not the NIH. But the NIH saw smart science in the 1960s, when Dr. Mischel proposed testing the ability of young children to resist the impulse to eat a single marshmallow when waiting would get them two treats instead of one. Those initial Marshmallow Tests have led to extraordinary findings linking children’s self-control to later life outcomes and to methods for teaching self-control and improving lives. Read more.
  • Using cats to understand vision. Nobel Laureates Dr. Torsten Wiesel and the late Dr. David Hubel, whose early research involved cats staring at black dots on a screen, are responsible for major progress in our understanding of the brain, for significant advances in the treatment of childhood cataracts, and for informing current research to enable computers to process images more like the human mind. But their extraordinary federally funded research really took off with a simple, fortuitous accident with the kittens in their lab: somebody pushed a glass slide too far on an overhead projector. Read more.
  • Mapping the altitude of human populations. Mathematical Population Biologist Dr. Joel E. Cohen, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Populations at the Rockefeller University; and Geophysicist Dr. Christopher Small, Lamont Research Professor, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, were simply pursuing a shared curiosity with support from the National Science Foundation when they produced the first global study of “hypsographic demography” – how human populations are distributed with respect to altitude. Their work has had an unexpectedly broad impact, touching areas as diverse as food production and packaging, semiconductor manufacturing, and cancer and other biomedical research and development. Read more.

Mobed spoke of the need for continued science funding from the government:  

Research funding around the world is being challenged. It's being challenged from the point of view of funding (and) the value to society it can demonstrably deliver back to the funders. What's remarkable is that in the last few years, one of the most consistent themes I hear from researchers is the need to be able to demonstrate return to the funders while at the same time pursuing science in the way it needs to be done.

Awards such as the Golden Goose Awards are one way to help researchers strike that balance between needed research and the value it has in societal and economic impacts.

Why is it called the Golden Goose Award?

Like the fabled goose that laid the golden egg, federally funded research has yielded extraordinary and unexpected returns. Out of odd sounding or obscure beginnings have come amazing advancements that have improved each of our lives.

The Golden Goose Award was founded in 2012 by a coalition of business, university and scientific organizations. US Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN) came up with the idea as a response to the Golden Fleece Award created by the late Senator William Proxmire (D-WI), which targeted wasteful federal spending that often included peer-reviewed science that sounded odd. While such research is easily singled out, it often reflects a broader fundamental misunderstanding of how science works and how such research can prove valuable to society regardless of its frivolous-sounding nature. Rep. Cooper believed such an award was needed to demonstrate the inherent value of basic research regardless of its immediate practical application.

This video is about the award and the stories behind this year's winners.

Who's behind the Golden Goose Award?

The Golden Goose Award Steering Committee is made up of individuals from the Founding Sponsors of the Award, Benefactors of the Award, and universities who helped launch the Award in 2012. The following are represented on the committee:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Association of American Universities
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
  • Breakthrough Institute
  • Elsevier
  • Progressive Policy Institute
  • Richard Lounsbery Foundation
  • The Science Coalition
  • Task Force on American Innovation
  • United for Medical Research
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Vanderbilt University

Read the winners’ research

We have made the award-winning research they published with Elsevier freely available. For each winner, they are presented in order of top-cited.

Joel E. Cohen

Joel E. Cohen, PhD (right) poses with Tom Reller, VP of Corporate Relations at Elsevier and the author of this story.

Confidence intervals for demographic projections based on products of random matrices
Theoretical Population Biology, Volume 27, Issue 2, April 1985, Pages 120-153
C.C. Heyde, Joel E. Cohen
DOI: 10.1016/0040-5809(85)90007-3

Nonnegative ranks, decompositions, and factorizations of nonnegative matrices
Linear Algebra and its Applications, Volume 190, 1 September 1993, Pages 149-168
Joel E. Cohen, Uriel G. Rothblum
DOI: 10.1016/0024-3795(93)90224-C

Effects of partial housing improvement and insecticide spraying on the reinfestation dynamics of Triatoma infestans in rural northwestern Argentina
Acta Tropica, Volume 84, Issue 2, November 2002, Pages 101–116
M.C Cecere, R.E Gürtler, D.M Canale, R Chuit, J.E Cohen
DOI: 10.1016/S0001-706X(02)00183-3

Monitoring house reinfestation by vectors of Chagas disease: A comparative trial of detection methods during a four-year follow-up
Acta Tropica, Volume 72, Issue 2, 15 March 1999, Pages 213–234
R.E Gürtler, M.C Cecere, D.M Canale, M.B Castañera, R Chuit, J.E Cohen
DOI: 10.1016/S0001-706X(98)00096-5

Comparative statics and stochastic dynamics of age-structured populations
Theoretical Population Biology, Volume 16, Issue 2, October 1979, Pages 159–171
Joel E. Cohen
DOI: 10.1016/0040-5809(79)90011-X

When will a large complex system be stable?
Journal of Theoretical Biology, Volume 113, Issue 1, 7 March 1985, Pages 153-156
Joel E. Cohen, Charles M. Newman
DOI: 10.1016/S0022-5193(85)80081-3

Eigenvalue inequalities for products of matrix exponentials
Linear Algebra and its Applications, Volume 45, June 1982, Pages 55-95
Joel E. Cohen, Shmuel Friedland, Tosio Kato, Frank P. Kelly
DOI: 10.1016/0024-3795(82)90211-7

Estimating malaria incidence and recovery rates from panel surveys
Mathematical Biosciences, Volume 49, Issues 3–4, June 1980, Pages 273–305
Singer, B., Cohen, J.E.
10.1016/0025-5564(80)90084-X

Markov population processes as models of primate social and population dynamics
Theoretical Population Biology, Volume 3, Issue 2, June 1972, Pages 119–134
Joel E. Cohen
doi:10.1016/0040-5809(72)90022-6

A stochastic theory of community food webs. VI. Heterogeneous alternatives to the cascade model
Theoretical Population Biology, Volume 37, Issue 1, February 1990, Pages 55-90
doi:10.1016/0040-5809(90)90027-S


Christopher Small

High spatial resolution spectral mixture analysis of urban reflectance
Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 88, Issues 1–2, 30 November 2003, Pages 170–186
Christopher Small
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2003.04.008

The Landsat ETM+ spectral mixing space
Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 93, Issues 1–2, 30 October 2004, Pages 1–17
Christopher Small
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2004.06.007

Spatial analysis of global urban extent from DMSP-OLS night lights
Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 96, Issues 3–4, 30 June 2005, Pages 277–291
Christopher Small, Francesca Pozzi, C.D. Elvidge
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2005.02.002

Estimation and vicarious validation of urban vegetation abundance by spectral mixture analysis
Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 100, Issue 4, 28 February 2006, Pages 441–456
Christopher Small, Jacqueline W.T. Lu,
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2005.10.023

Multitemporal analysis of urban reflectance
Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 81, Issues 2–3, August 2002, Pages 427–442
Christopher Small
DOI: 10.1016/S0034-4257(02)00019-6

The global distribution of human population and recent volcanism
Global Environmental Change Part B: Environmental Hazards, Volume 3, Issues 3–4, September–December 2001, Pages 93–109
Christopher Small, Terry Naumann
DOI: 10.1016/S1464-2867(02)00002-5

Estimating the effects of increased urbanization on surface meteorology and ozone concentrations in the New York City metropolitan region
Atmospheric Environment, Volume 41, Issue 9, March 2007, Pages 1803–1818
Kevin Civerolo, Christian Hogrefe, Barry Lynn, Joyce Rosenthal, Jia-Yeong Ku, William Solecki, Jennifer Cox, Christopher Small, Cynthia Rosenzweig, Richard Goldberg, Kim Knowlton, Patrick Kinney
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.10.076

Cities from space: Potential applications of remote sensing in urban environmental research and policy
Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 6, Issue 2, April 2003, Pages 129–137
Roberta Balstad Miller, Christopher Small
DOI: 10.1016/S1462-9011(03)00002-9

Spatial scaling of stable night lights
Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 115, Issue 2, 15 February 2011, Pages 269–280
Christopher Small, Christopher D. Elvidge, Deborah Balk, Mark Montgomery
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2010.08.021

Comparative analysis of urban reflectance and surface temperature
Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 104, Issue 2, 30 September 2006, Pages 168–189
Christopher Small
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2005.10.029


Walter Mischel

A prototype analysis of psychological situations
Cognitive Psychology, Volume 14, Issue 1, January 1982, Pages 45-77
Nancy Cantor, Walter Mischel, Judith C Schwartz
doi:10.1016/0010-0285(82)90004-4

Prototypicality and personality: Effects on free recall and personality impressions
Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 13, Issue 2, June 1979, Pages 187–205
Nancy Cantor, Walter Mischel      
doi:10.1016/0092-6566(79)90030-8

Rejection sensitivity and executive control: Joint predictors of borderline personality features
Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 42, Issue 1, February 2008, Pages 151–168 
Özlem Ayduk, Vivian Zayas, Geraldine Downey, Amy Blum Cole, Yuichi Shoda, Walter Mischel   
doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2007.04.002

Regulation of craving by cognitive strategies in cigarette smokers
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Volume 106, Issue 1, 1 January 2010, Pages 52–55
Hedy Kober, Ethan F. Kross, Walter Mischel, Carl L. Hart, Kevin N. Ochsner          
doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.07.017

From Personality and Assessment (1968) to Personality Science, 2009
Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 43, Issue 2, April 2009, Pages 282–290
Walter Mischel                              
doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2008.12.037

Preschoolers' delay of gratification predicts their body mass 30 years later
The Journal of Pediatrics, Volume 162, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 90–93
Tanya R. Schlam, PhD, Nicole L. Wilson, PhD, Yuichi Shoda, PhD, Walter Mischel, PhD, Ozlem Ayduk, PhD         
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.06.049

Verbal intelligence and self-regulatory competencies: Joint predictors of boys' aggression
Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 41, Issue 2, April 2007, Pages 374–388
Ozlem Ayduk, Monica L. Rodriguez, Walter Mischel, Yuichi Shoda, Jack Wright    
doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2006.04.008

Toward an integrative model for CBT: Encompassing behavior, cognition, affect, and process
Behavior Therapy, Volume 35, Issue 1, Winter 2004, Pages 185–203
Walter Mischel                              
doi:10.1016/S0005-7894(04)80011-X


Yuichi Shoda

Rejection sensitivity and executive control: Joint predictors of borderline personality features
Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 42, Issue 1, February 2008, Pages 151–168 
Özlem Ayduk, Vivian Zayas, Geraldine Downey, Amy Blum Cole, Yuichi Shoda, Walter Mischel   
doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2007.04.002

Preschoolers' delay of gratification predicts their body mass 30 years later
The Journal of Pediatrics, Volume 162, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 90–93
Tanya R. Schlam, PhD, Nicole L. Wilson, PhD, Yuichi Shoda, PhD, Walter Mischel, PhD, Ozlem Ayduk, PhD         
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.06.049

Verbal intelligence and self-regulatory competencies: Joint predictors of boys' aggression
Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 41, Issue 2, April 2007, Pages 374–388
Ozlem Ayduk, Monica L. Rodriguez, Walter Mischel, Yuichi Shoda, Jack Wright    
doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2006.04.008

Behavioral signatures at the ballpark: Intraindividual consistency of adults’ situation–behavior patterns and their interpersonal consequences
Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 43, Issue 2, April 2009, Pages 187–195
Ronald E. Smith, Yuichi Shoda, Sean P. Cumming, Frank L. Smoll    
doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2008.12.006

Conceptualizing personality as a cognitive-affective processing system: A framework for models of maladaptive behavior patterns and change
Behavior Therapy, Volume 35, Issue 1, Winter 2004, Pages 147–165
Yuichi Shoda, Ronald E. Smith       
doi:10.1016/S0005-7894(04)80009-1

Three decades after the personality paradox: Understanding situations
Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 43, Issue 2, April 2009, Pages 280–281
Vivian Zayas, Yuichi Shoda            
doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2009.03.011

An approach to test for individual differences in the effects of situations without using moderator variables
Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 50, January 2014, Pages 94–104
Donna D. Whitsett, Yuichi Shoda   
doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2013.08.008


Torsten N. Wiesel

The influence of contextual stimuli on the orientation selectivity of cells in primary visual cortex of the cat
Vision Research, Volume 30, Issue 11, 1990, Pages 1689-1701
Charles D. Gilbert, Torsten N. Wiesel           
doi:10.1016/0042-6989(90)90153-C

Autoradiographic demonstration of ocular-dominance columns in the monkey striate cortex by means of transneuronal transport
Brain Research, Volume 79, Issue 2, 18 October 1974, Pages 273–279
T.N. Wiesel, D.H. Hubel, D.M.K. Lam
doi:10.1016/0006-8993(74)90416-8

The distribution of afferents representing the right and left eyes in the cat's visual cortex
Brain Research, Volume 131, Issue 1, 5 August 1977, Pages 103–116
C.J. Shatz, S. Lindstrom, T.N. Wiesel
doi:10.1016/0006-8993(77)90031-2

Early exploration of the visual cortex
Neuron, Volume 20, Issue 3, March 1998, Pages 401–412
David H Hubel, Torsten N Wiesel
doi:10.1016/S0896-6273(00)80984-8

Intrinsic connectivity and receptive field properties in visual cortex
Vision Research, Volume 25, Issue 3, 1985, Pages 365–374
Charles D. Gilbert, Torsten N. Wiesel
doi:10.1016/0042-6989(85)90061-6

Pharmacological analysis of cortical circuitry
Trends in Neurosciences, Volume 12, Issue 8, 1989, Pages 292–296
Jürgen Bolz, Charles D. Gilbert, Torsten N. Wiesel
doi:10.1016/0166-2236(89)90009-X

Neurotransmitter synthesis in cephalopod retina
Brain Research, Volume 82, Issue 2, 27 December 1974, Pages 365–368
Dominic M.K. Lam, Torsten N. Wiesel, Akimichi Kaneko
doi:10.1016/0006-8993(74)90621-0


David H. Hubel

Microsaccades: a neurophysiological analysis
Trends in Neurosciences, Volume 32, Issue 9, September 2009, Pages 463–475
Susana Martinez-Conde, Stephen L. Macknik, Xoana G. Troncoso, David H. Hubel
doi:10.1016/j.tins.2009.05.006

Early exploration of the visual cortex
Neuron, Volume 20, Issue 3, March 1998, Pages 401–412
David H Hubel1, Torsten N Wiesel
doi:10.1016/S0896-6273(00)80984-8

Mode of termination of retinotectal fibers in macaque monkey: An autoradiographic study
Brain Research, Volume 96, Issue 1, 10 October 1975, Pages 25-40
David H. Hubel, Simon LeVay, Torsten N. Wiesel
doi:10.1016/0006-8993(75)90567-3

Projection into the visual field of ocular dominance columns in macaque monkey
Brain Research, Volume 122, Issue 2, 18 February 1977, Pages 336–343
David H. Hubel, David C. Freeman
doi:10.1016/0006-8993(77)90299-2

An autoradiographic study of the retino-cortical projections in the tree shrew (Tupaia glis)
Brain Research, Volume 96, Issue 1, 10 October 1975, Pages 41–50
David H. Hubel
doi:10.1016/0006-8993(75)90568-5

Stereopsis and binocularity in the squirrel monkey
Vision Research, Volume 35, Issue 3, February 1995, Pages 345–354
Margaret S. Livingstone, Sarita Nori, David C. Freeman, David H. Hubel
doi:10.1016/0042-6989(94)00133-7

Stereopsis and positional acuity under dark adaptation
Vision Research, Volume 34, Issue 6, March 1994, Pages 799–802
Margaret S. Livingstone, David H. Hubel
doi:10.1016/0042-6989(94)90217-8

Receptive field properties of neurons in the primary visual cortex under photopic and scotopic lighting conditions
Vision Research, Volume 47, Issue 19, September 2007, Pages 2569–2574
Kevin R. Duffy, David H. Hubel
doi:10.1016/j.visres.2007.06.009

The Way Biomedical Research Is Organized Has Dramatically Changed Over the Past Half-Century: Are the Changes for the Better?
Neuron, Volume 64, Issue 2, 29 October 2009, Pages 161–163
David H. Hubel
doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2009.09.022


Elsevier Connect Contributor

Tom
RellerAs VP and Head of Global Corporate Relations at Elsevier, Tom Reller (@TomReller) leads a global team of  media, social and web communicators for the world's largest provider of scientific, technical and medical (STM) information products and services. Together, they work to build on Elsevier's reputation by promoting the company's numerous contributions to the health and science communities, many of which  are brought to life in this online community and information resource: Elsevier Connect.

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