On September 12, 2013, the Golden Goose award winners for this year were announced. The Golden Goose is an award created in 2012 and given to scientists whose federally funded research has yielded unexpectedly useful results. Congressman Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Tennessee, proposed the idea for the Golden Goose, and has been joined by members of Congress from both major parties, including Charlie Dent, the Republican who represents Pennsylvania's 15th Congressional District. This year's winners are Lloyd Shapley, David Gale, and Alvin Roth, for their work on marriage choice algorithms; and Thomas Brock and Hudson Freeze, for their work on survival in extreme conditions.
Because nothing in the Constitution authorizes Congressionally sanctioned federal funding of scientific research, and because of a dramatic budget deficit at the federal level, many have called for a reduction -- or even an elimination -- of federally allocated funds for scientific research. In contrast to these calls for fiscal conservatism stands the Golden Goose award, a celebration of taxpayer-funded research that has yielded useful results. The first set of awardees, announced in September 2012, included the developers of green fluorescent protein, the inventor of the laser technology used in reading compact discs, and a group of coral structure investigators.
The Golden Goose awards are supported by founding organizations American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Association of Universities (AAU), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), Breakthrough Institute, Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), Richard Lounsbery Foundation, The Science Coalition (TSC), Task Force on American Innovation, and United for Medical Research; as well as American Astronomical Society, American Educational Research Association, American Mathematical Society, American Psychological Association, American Society for Microbiology, American Sociological Association, APS Physics, Association for Psychological Science, Association of American Medical Colleges, The Biophysical Society, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, IEEE-USA, and Texas Instruments. The National Science Foundation recalls the words of Vannevar Bush decades ago regarding the lack of interest by industry in funding research that may not yield useful results for many years, and states that government funding of scientific research is appropriate. Doubtless, this year's Golden Goose winners would agree.