On Monday, September 28, 2015, the Blavatnik Family Foundation hosted its second annual celebration of the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists, honoring the scientific excellence and innovation of the 3 National Laureates and 29 National Finalists.
This year’s black tie event, held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, gathered over 200 distinguished guests, including members of academia, business, media, and film.
The evening formally began as the brass ensemble of the renowned Juilliard School played a processional of Fanfare for the Common Man and New York City high school students with a passion for science served as flag holders for the grand entrance of the Finalists and Laureates into the museum’s famed Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.
Ellis Rubinstein, President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Academy of Sciences, opened the evening with the introduction of the National Laureates and Finalists and welcomed them to the Blavatnik Science Scholars alumni community.
“Being recognized by the Blavatnik National Awards is more than simply a one-time honor. Thanks to our 198-year-old New York Academy of Sciences, the Winners and Finalists of the Blavatnik National and Regional Awards join a dynamic group of alumni who will drive the advance of science for decades to come, “said Ellis Rubinstein.
2015 Blavatnik National Laureates: Dr. Edward Chang, Dr. Syed Jafar, and Dr. Christopher Chang were introduced during the evening by their mentors Dr. Stephen Lisberger, Dr. Andrea Goldsmith, and Dr. Stephen Lippard, respectively. Each Laureate received a custom gold-plated medal from Len Blavatnik and followed with a presentation about their award-winning work.
The event was attended by Blavatnik Awards winners and finalists from previous years, members of the National Jury, and members of the Blavatnik Awards Scientific Advisory Council including Drs. Szabolcs Márka, Ruslan Medzhitov, and Marc Tessier-Lavigne. Other notable guests included Kenneth Bialkin, Secretary of the Carnegie Hall Corporation; Stephen Cooper, CEO of Warner Music Group; Dr. Brian Greene, Chairman of the World Science Festival; Dr. Yann LeCun, Director of Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research; Ron Prosor, Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations; Dr. Richard Roberts, CSO of New England Biolabs; Dr. Bruce Stillman, President and CEO of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Dr. Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize Laureate; Dr. Jan Vilcek, Founder and President of the Vilcek Foundation; Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber; Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairman of the Weinstein Company; and Dr. Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York.