Dr. Frank Drake, the Lectureship’s namesake, has had a long and distinguished career that began at the Observatory in Green Bank. His scientific achievements include discovery of the radiation belts of Jupiter, and the measurements and characterization of the radio sources at the center of the Milky Way. He also contributed to our understanding of the high surface temperature of Venus. In 1960, using a radio telescope at Green Bank, he made the first modern search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations, He thus began an area of scientific research that has continued and is flourishing today, engaging creative minds worldwide.
To honor Drake’s impact on the public understanding of science, an award was established in 2019. The award is given to someone from the sciences, arts or humanities in recognition of their contributions to advancing human knowledge and creativity who is selected to share a lecture about their work.
2022 – astrophysicist Alyssa Goodman, Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy at Harvard University
2021 – Delayed due to pandemic
2020 – Delayed due to pandemic
2019 – Ira Flatow, science journalist and host of the popular radio show Science Friday.