NCSE Supporter Ayala receives National Medal of Science

On May 9, Francisco J. Ayala, Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, was named by President Bush to receive the National Medal for Science, the nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in scientific research. Ayala will receive the medal at a ceremony at the White House on June 13. As the National Science Foundation’s citationist wrote, “Ayala has revolutionized evolution theory by pioneering molecular biology in the investigation of evolutionary processes. His research has led to a new understanding of the origin of species, the pervasiveness of genetic diversity, the genetic structure of populations, and rates of evolution among other concepts.” Ayala, who testified for the plaintiff in the important 1982 creationism trial McLean v. Arkansas, has been a Supporter of NCSE since its founding; NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott commented, “Ayala’s contributions to NCSE and its goal of defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools are comparable to his contributions to biology in general: immense.” The National Medal for Science was established by Congress in 1959; only 401 medals have been awarded since then.