Bower Award And Prize For Achievement In Science

The 2024 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science 

Theme: The Physics of Soft Matter: Self-Assembling, Responsive, Smart

Prize: $250,000 USD and a 14-karat gold medal

Deadline for Submissions: March 31, 2023

The Franklin Institute seeks nominations for the 2024 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science of individuals who have made significant contributions to understanding the unique properties of soft matter or to the development of applications utilizing soft matter. 

Nominations should recognize contributions with broad impact centered on the physics of soft matter, including interdisciplinary work in which the physics of soft matter plays a central role. Nominations may be for fundamental or application-oriented science, whether theoretical, experimental, or computational in nature. Nominations are encouraged in, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Polymers; emulsions; liquid crystals; colloidal liquids, crystals, and glasses
  • Elastomers, gels, foams, granular systems
  • Living matter, far-from-equilibrium systems, active matter
  • Technological advances based on the properties of soft matter
  • Measurement paradigms using soft materials and soft matter concepts

Nominations should clearly indicate the scientific significance—innovative, technical, conceptual—and the societal/economic impact of the nominee’s work.


  • This is an international competition for individuals who have made significant contributions to understanding the unique properties of soft matter or to the development of applications utilizing soft matter. 
  • As specified by the will of Henry Bower, this award and prize must be presented to an individual, not to a group.
  • Candidates must be living, and the winner must participate in The Franklin Institute Awards Week programs, to be held in April 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • Nominations from any individual or organization will be accepted, including self-nominations.
  • Nominations of candidates traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering are particularly encouraged.

Nomination Procedures

Nominations must be submitted in English and must include:

  • Name and contact information of nominee 
  • Name and contact information of nominator
  • Proposed award citation of 50 words or fewer, specifying the achievement(s) for which the candidate is nominated
  • Narrative statement describing the nominee’s qualifications for the award, including technical contributions, impact on their field, and broader impact on science and society 
  • Nominee’s curriculum vitae and bibliography of significant and relevant publications
  • Four confidential letters of support sent by the letter writers directly to The Franklin Institute Awards Office

Nominations should be emailed to:

Beth Scheraga
Director, The Franklin Institute Awards | 215.448.1329

The Franklin Institute Awards celebrates pioneering achievements in science, engineering, and industry and the brilliant people from across the globe who make them. As the oldest science and technology awards program in the U.S., we honor the legacy of our namesake, Benjamin Franklin—America’s first great scientist and an inventor and statesman whose impact can be seen all around us today. Since 1824, we have recognized more than 2,000 of the most world-changing scientists, engineers, inventors, and industrialists—all of whom reflect Franklin’s spirit of curiosity, ingenuity, and innovation. Our roster of past laureates includes Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Marie and Pierre Curie, Albert Michelson, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, Niels Bohr, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Robert Millikan, Peter Kapitsa, Enrico Fermi, John Bardeen, Brian Josephson, Leo Kadanoff, Isabella Karle, Alfred Cho, Daniel Tsui, Horst Stormer, Robert Laughlin, Robert Meyer, Deborah Jin, Marvin Cohen, and Helen Quinn.

The Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science, along with the Bower Award for Business Leadership, was established in 1990 through a bequest from Philadelphia chemical manufacturer and philanthropist Henry Bower (1896–1988), the grandson of a 19th century Franklin Institute laureate. The award, 14k gold medal, and cash prize of $250,000 are presented annually to a distinguished member of the international scientific community for work in a prescribed discipline that changes each year. In addition to the Bower Awards, The Franklin Institute presents Benjamin Franklin Medals in chemistry, civil and mechanical engineering, computer and cognitive science, earth and environmental science, electrical engineering, life science, and physics; and the Benjamin Franklin NextGen Award, which honors an early-career researcher.