Joseph E. LeDoux
Joseph LeDoux with Society President Clyde Barker (right) and Executive Officer Pat McPherson (left)
The American Philosophical Society awarded the 2011 Karl Spencer Lashley Award to Joseph E. LeDoux. The citation read: “in recognition of his seminal studies of the neural mechanisms of emotional learning, particularly fear learning and fear memory.” The award was presented by the Society’s President, Clyde F. Barker, Donald Guthrie Professor, Department of Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Joseph LeDoux has carried out pioneering and comprehensive studies of the neuroscience of fear learning and fear memory. In an animal model, he traced the fear processing circuit from sensory systems to the amygdala, identified the lateral nucleus of the amygdala as a key sensory region and a site for synaptic plasticity, and showed that the connections from the lateral to the central nucleus are essential for processing fear responses. He has also elucidated the phenomenon of extinction, related extinction to the medial prefrontal cortex, and shown how medial prefrontal cortex interacts with the amygdala in extinction. His work has substantial clinical relevance for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Dr. LeDoux is currently the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science and University Professor at the Center for Neural Science at New York University. He is also the director of the Center for the Neuroscience of Fear and Anxiety, a multi-university Center in New York City. He received his Ph.D. in 1977 at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
The Karl Spencer Lashley Award was established in 1957 by a gift from Dr. Lashley, a member of the Society and a distinguished neuroscientist and neuropsychologist. The award is made in recognition of work on the integrative neuroscience of behavior. At the time of his death, Dr. Lashley was Emeritus Research Professor of Neuropsychology at Harvard University and Emeritus Director of the Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology in Florida. Lashley's contemporaries considered his experimental work as daring and original. His entire scientific life was spent in the study of behavior and its neural basis, or as he phrased it: “the discovery of principles of nervous integration which are as yet completely unknown.” Lashley’s famous experiments on the brain mechanisms of learning, memory and intelligence helped inaugurate the modern era of integrative neuroscience.
The Lashley Award Selection Committee consisted of chair Larry R. Squire, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Neurosciences, and Psychology at University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and Research Career Scientist at VA Medical Center, San Diego; John E. Dowling, Gordon and Llura Gund Professor of Neurosciences at Harvard University; Fernando Nottebohm, Dorothea L. Leonhardt Professor in the Laboratory of Animal Behavior at Rockefeller University; and Richard F. Thompson, Keck Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences in the Neuroscience Program at University of Southern California.
Jeremy James Waldron
Prize Recipient Jeremy Waldron with Society President Clyde Barker and Executive Officer Pat McPherson
The American Philosophical Society awarded the 2011 Henry M. Phillips Prize in Jurisprudence to Jeremy James Waldron. The citation read “in recognition his intellectual leadership in political theory and legal philosophy, including in particular his exploration of such diverse themes as the nature and limits of rights supporting the institution of private property, a jurisprudence of legislation, and a defense of the equality of human beings developed out of Locke’s Christian-based theories of equality, which has brought him recognition as one of the world’s leading legal and political philosophers of his generation.” The award was presented by the Society's Executive Officer, Mary Patterson McPherson, President Emerita, Bryn Mawr College.
The Henry M. Phillips Prize recognizes outstanding lifetime contributions to the field of jurisprudence and the important publications which illustrate that accomplishment. It was established in 1888 by a gift from his sister to be used as an award to honor "real merit on the science and philosophy of jurisprudence."
Dr. Waldron is University Professor of law and philosophy at the New York University School of Law, and the Chichele Professor in Social and Political Theory at Oxford University. Waldron works in the fields of political theory and legal philosophy, and his output has been prodigious. He has explored such diverse themes as the nature and limits of rights-based arguments in support of the institution of private property (The Right to Private Property); the case for legislation as a “dignified mode of governance and a respectable source of law” (The Dignity of Legislation); a jurisprudence of legislation (Law and Disagreement); and a defense of the equality of human beings developed out of Locke’s Christian-based theories of equality, with modern implications (God, Locke, and Equality).
The Phillips Prize Selection Committee consisted of chair Herma Hill Kay, the Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law and Former Dean of the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley; William T. Coleman, Jr., Senior Partner and Senior Counselor at O’Melveny & Myers; Ellen Ash Peters, Judge Trial Referee of the Connecticut Appellate Court and former Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court; and Louis Pollak, Judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Arlin M. Adams
Arlin Adams (second from left) with APS Executive Officer Pat McPherson, President Clyde Barker, and Linda Greenhouse
The American Philosophical Society awarded the 2011 Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Public Service to Arlin M. Adams. The citation inscribed on the framed certificate that accompanies the Franklin Medal reads “in recognition of contributions to public life reflecting the best skills a lawyer can possess: leader of the bar, distinguished judge, public policy advocate, settler of disputes, generous donor of time and talent. At the American Philosophical Society, a former president and much more. Pioneer of Head Start and other public welfare programs that have improved the lives of countless children. World War II veteran. Native son of Philadelphia who has given back to his city and state throughout a 64-year legal career. A model of fairness and negotiator extraordinaire, who brings adversaries to the table and persuades them to talk because they trust him.” The award was presented by Linda Greenhouse, Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School.
Arlin M. Adams has had a long and distinguished career of service in law and government, as well as to the American Philosophical Society. A senior partner at Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis since 1947, Adams took leave in 1963 to serve as the Secretary of Public Welfare for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under Governor Scranton for three years. Many of his accomplishments for the Commonwealth became models for programs at the federal level. He started the program that later became known as Head Start nationwide, made birth control available to people on welfare, adopted functional education programs for people on welfare, and started music and art programs for mentally handicapped children and adults. In 1969 President Nixon appointed Adams to serve as Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, where he served with great distinction for 17 years and was held in the highest esteem for his impartiality. In 1990 he was appointed Independent Council for the investigation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for profiteering and influence peddling inside HUD during the Reagan administration. In 1996 he served as Trustee in the bankruptcy of the New Era Foundation, the largest bankruptcy of a non-profit organization to date.
Judge Adams was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1979 and has served the Society in many capacities – the Class Committee, Bylaws Committee, Phillips Prize Selection Committee, 250th Anniversary Celebration Committee, Secretary, Vice President, President, and then continuing on the Finance Committee, Executive Committee, and Council. Among his many contributions, as president Judge Adams was responsible for a concerted and organized effort to add women, minorities, under-represented fields, and international members to strengthen the membership of the Society by providing a structure to support this effort in the Society’s bylaws.
In 1906, the United States Congress authorized a commemorative medal to mark the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin. The medal was designed by Augustus and Louis St. Guadens. In 1987, the Society starting awarding the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Public Service to honor exceptional contributions to the general welfare.
The selection committee for the Franklin Medal award consists of the Society’s president, executive officer, the three vice presidents, and the three Council members from Class 5: Baruch S. Blumberg, Mary Patterson McPherson, Clyde F. Barker, Harriet Zuckerman, John O’Malley, Joel E. Cohen, Linda Greenhouse, and Conrad K. Harper.
Nancy J. Nersessian
Nancy Nersessian (holding award) with APS Executive Officer Pat McPherson, APS President Clyde Barker, and Patrick Suppes.
The American Philosophical Society awarded the inaugural Patrick Suppes Prize in Philosophy to Dr. Nancy J. Nersessian in recognition of her book Creating Scientific Concepts. The award was presented by Patrick Suppes, Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University.
In 2005 Patrick Suppes, a member of this Society since 1991, established and funded a set of prizes to honor accomplishments in three very different and deeply significant scholarly fields that reflect the spectacular scope of his own interests. The Patrick Suppes Prize will be awarded annually, with a cycle of three years rotating each of the three subject matter areas – a prize in Philosophy with special consideration for the Philosophy of Science, a prize in Psychology, and a prize in the History of Science.
Nancy Nersessian is the Regents’ Professor and Professor of Cognitive Science at Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Case Western Reserve University. Her research focuses on creativity, innovation, and conceptual change in science. To this end, she works to bring together methodologies and conceptual frameworks from cognitive science, philosophy of science, and history of science, exploring both the cognitive and cultural mechanisms that lead up to scientific innovation.
In her first book, Faraday to Einstein: Constructing Meaning in Scientific Theories (1984), she emphasized the need for a better way to talk about the meaning of scientific concepts, but did not take the step of introducing systematic ideas from cognitive science and developmental psychology to go deeper into the nature of conceptual change. This she has done in her 2008 book, Creating Scientific Concepts. Her analysis in this book of the complicated process Maxwell went through in finally moving away from a mechanical conception of electromagnetic phenomena to the discovery of his fundamental electromagnetic equations is probably the best work of this kind to be found in the recent literature. Dr. Nersessian’s work in this field draws from an incredible array of sources, from concepts and analyses in cognitive science to the extensive body of literature on scientific practices available in the social science field, and from her own theoretical analysis of problems to empirical data including historical documents and interviews with scholars.
The selection of the recipient was made by Pat Suppes in consultation with Jordi Cat, professor of philosophy of science at Indiana University; Thomas Ryckman, professor of philosophy of science at Stanford University; Michael Friedman, professor of philosophy of science at Stanford University; Helen Longino, a well-known philosopher of science and current chairman of the department at Stanford; George Smith, professor of philosophy at Tufts University; and Nancy Cartwright, professor of philosophy at the London School of Economics.