February 15, 2017


Boston – On February 17, 2017, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will present Museum of Science, Boston president and director Ioannis Miaoulis the 2016 AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize at its Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

Miaoulis, an innovative educator with a passion for science and engineering, was honored by the world’s largest general scientific society for his sustained and successful efforts to "champion the public understanding of science and engineering, cultivate interest in engineering among K-12 students, guide undergraduate students to pursue engineering careers, and increase diversity among faculty at Tufts School of Engineering," said Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS and executive publisher of the Science family of journals.

In 2004, Miaoulis spearheaded creation of the Museum's National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®). Supported by corporate, foundation, and federal funds, the NCTL aims to foster science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) knowledge for all. Its strategy calls for advocacy, reforming standards and assessments, creating K-12 engineering curricula, teacher professional development, and museum programming, as well as enhancing public views of engineering. The Museum of Science is the country’s first science museum with a comprehensive strategy and infrastructure to foster technological literacy in both museums and schools globally.

Responding to the lack of elementary engineering curricula, the NCTL piloted its Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) in 2004 with eight teachers and 200 students.  Since then, its K-12 curricula have reached an estimated 128,900 teachers and 13 million students in 50 states.

"As an educator and engineer, I am deeply honored to receive this prestigious award from the AAAS," said Miaoulis. "I am convinced that engineering is key to making science and math relevant to problem-solving for students from all backgrounds and that scientific and technological literacy is critical for both informed decision-making and innovation."

Before joining the Museum in 2003, he served as Tufts University’s dean of the School of Engineering. Miaoulis also significantly increased the number of women students and faculty as well as creating engaging engineering courses that caused more students to transfer from liberal arts to engineering than from engineering to liberal arts.

Miaoulis championed the introduction of engineering into the Massachusetts public school curriculum in 2001, making the Commonwealth the first to develop a statewide K-12 curriculum framework and assessments for technology/engineering. Miaoulis has testified before U.S. Senate and House committees and served as keynote speaker at education reform conferences worldwide. He built support for the first Engineering Education for Innovation Act, which was crafted by the NCTL and introduced in Congress in 2010 and 2011, and for the Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act in 2013 and 2015. He also championed the STEM provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act, adopted by Congress and signed by President Obama in 2015.

In 2015, Miaoulis accepted the National Science Board Public Service Award for the NCTL's efforts to promote public understanding of science and engineering. Other honors include an Honorary Doctor of Science degree, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, 2015; the 2014 American Society for Engineering Education President’s Award, jointly with the NCTL; the 2011 American Society of Mechanical Engineers Ralph Coats Roe Medal; and NASA’s 2009 Exceptional Public Service Medal.

Miaoulis has published more than 100 research papers and holds two patents. He has three degrees from Tufts University: a B.S. in mechanical engineering, an M.A. in economics, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. He also received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984.

The Abelson Prize, established in 1985 by the AAAS Board of Directors, recognizes individuals who have "made signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States." It is given annually to either a public servant in recognition of sustained exceptional contributions to advancing science or to a scientist whose career has been distinguished for scientific achievement and other notable services to the scientific community. The award consists of a commemorative medallion and a $5,000 honorarium. The Abelson Prize was inspired by the late Philip Hauge Abelson, senior advisor to AAAS, editor of Science, and president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Other Museum Highlights

·         The Science Behind Pixar, an award-winning exhibition developed with Pixar Animation Studios which is touring nationally after transforming the complexities of computer science into compelling experiences for 321,800 Museum of Science visitors;

·         The award-winning Engineering is Elementary, the nation's largest elementary engineering curriculum and model for a European Commission-funded effort introducing engineering to schools in Europe and Israel; now used statewide in Delaware, Iowa, and Alabama and reaching schools on U.S. military bases in Europe and the Pacific, and 11 other countries;

  • Design Challenges engaging more than 850,000 young Museum visitors in the engineering design cycle since 2003;

·         Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibition, created with Lucasfilm Ltd., which promoted engineering to more than 3 million people;

  • The Gateway Project, replicated in Texas, New Hampshire, and Maine and endorsed by the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council as a model for districtwide STEM reform

Past Abelson Prize awardees include Eric S. Lander, Francis S. Collins, Charles M. Vest, and Shirley Ann Jackson.

About the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances, Science Immunology, and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert! (www.eurekalert.org), the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS. See www.aaas.org. For more information on AAAS awards, see www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/awards/.

About the Museum of Science, Boston

One of the world's largest science centers and New England's most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces more than 1.5 million visitors a year to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through the world-class interactive exhibits, programs and K-12 curricula of its William and Charlotte Bloomberg Science Education Center. An extraordinary variety of learning experiences span the Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River, Hall of Human Life, Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, 4-D Theater, and Butterfly Garden. The Science Behind Pixar, created with Pixar Animation Studios, is touring nationally. The Museum's National Center for Technological Literacy® K-12 curricula, including its award-winning Engineering is Elementary®, have reached an estimated 13 million students and 128,900 educators. The Museum sparks teens worldwide to use digital technology via The Clubhouse Network and has led a $41 million National Science Foundation-funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network of science museums and university research centers. Visit: http://www.mos.org


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