Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I know - Ego Blogging is so 2010 - But I won. I won. I won. (The Ben Franklin Award ...)

OK so the title is a bit much. But I am really happy that I won this years Benjamin Franklin Award, given out by the Bioinformatics Organization. For more on this see ...
I found out a few days ago and am rearranging some things to go to Boston April 13 for the award ceremony at the Bio-IT World Conference and Expo.  

From the Bioinformatics Organization web site:
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was one of the most remarkable men of his time. Scientist, inventor, statesman, he freely and openly shared his ideas and refused to patent his inventions. It is the opinion of the founders of the Bioinformatics Organization, Inc. that he embodied the best traits of a scientist, and we seek to honor those who share these virtues
The Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences is a humanitarian/bioethics award presented annually by this organization to an individual who has, in his or her practice, promoted free and open access to the materials and methods used in the life sciences.

I like the general sentiment very much.  And perhaps more important - the list of prior winners is an impressive crew.  Again, from the Bioinformatics Organization web site:
Note - my brother won the first one.

Anyway - am thinking about what to say in the awards ceremony.  Probably going to say something about how openness is more than about being at no charge.  Also I might discuss how it would be good to have a female winner one of these days.  Speaking of which - maybe people can give suggestions for women to nominate for next year ...

UPDATE 9/25/12: See this Friendfeed discussion for some more comments about possible female candidates. I have copied the text below in case Friendfeed disappears: "maybe people can give suggestions for women to nominate for next year ...". OK, I'll start: how about Rosie Redfield? If it weren't for the Life Sciences focus I'd also suggest Heather Joseph. Speaking of Heathers, one H. Piwowar springs to mind whenever Open Foo is mentioned. - Bill Hooker heh, that would be cool someday :) For now, how about Helen M. Berman, Judith A. Blake, Maryann E. Martone, Catherine Ball, or other pioneers in open databases? - Heather Piwowar Janet Thornton. - Heather Piwowar Agreed! - Egon Willighagen In an award speech at ISMB 2005, Janet Thornton expressed gratitude she was able to take years out-with-family and then pick up again. Inspirational. Not relevant for the Ben Franklin award, but wanted to mention it because it made such an impact. - Heather Piwowar


  1. Hey- Congrats!! That's awesome. You are right though, that list of previous winners is a little tilted in the direction of one gender... hmmm.. who to nominate.

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  3. Suzanna Lewis, of course :)

  4. Suzanna is an excellent suggestion.

  5. Some other candidates (not meant to be exhaustive - just to get some out there) who have made some interesting "open" contributions to open bioinformatics

    Kimmen Sjolander, Berkeley
    Katie Pollard, UCSF
    Janet Thornton, EBI

  6. Some suggestions from Heather Piowar on Twitter

    Janet Thornton, Helen M. Berman, Judith A. Blake, Maryann E. Martone, Catherine Ball, or other pioneers in open databases

  7. I'd second Janet Thornton and Kimmen Sjolander and add Sarah Hunter of InterPro fame.

  8. Congratulations!


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