On Monday, September 12, 2016, 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 28 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, and media.
The evening formally began as the brass ensemble of the renowned Juilliard School played a processional of Triumphal March from Aida by G. Verdi 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. He acknowledged the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists celebrating its 10–year anniversary, as well as the continuing support of the exceptional judges and Blavatnik Awards Scientific Advisory Council that help make the Awards possible. The remainder of the event was presented by the evening’s master of ceremonies, Dr. Andrew Hamilton, President of New York University.
2016 Blavatnik National Laureates: Dr. David Charbonneau, Dr. Phil Baran, and Dr. Michael Rape were introduced during the evening by their mentors Dr. Sara Seager, Dr. Ronald Breslow, and Dr. Marc Kirschner, 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 Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov. Other notable guests included Dr. George Q. Daley, Dean of Harvard Medical School; Kenneth Bialkin, Secretary of the Carnegie Hall Corporation; Stephen Cooper, CEO of Warner Music Group; Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO; Julie Greenwald, Chairman and COO of Atlantic Records Group; Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Peter Schultz, CEO of The Scripps Research Institute; Dr. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University; C. L. Max Nikias, President of the University of Southern California; Lindsey Graham, US Senator of South Carolina; and Robert Darnell, Founding Director of New York Genome Center.