Navigator Awards

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is pleased to announce that four of the nation's leading innovators in the area of science and technology received Navigator Awards at a banquet at the Willard Hotel, Washington, DC, October 21.  The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies' Navigator Awards are traditionally presented to members of Congress and to representatives of the executive branch, industry and academia in recognition of their distinguished contributions in the arena of science and technology. The Navigator Award is named as a tribute to those leaders in science and technology who act as pathfinders in the pursuit of knowledge.

This year's awardees are: Arden L. Bement, Jr., PhD, former Director of the National Science Foundation; Jeffrey Wadsworth, PhD, President and CEO of the Battelle Memorial Foundation;  Elon Musk,  CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors;  and Gerald Edelman, MD, PhD, Director of The Neurosciences Institute, President of Neurosciences Research Foundation, and a Nobel laureate (1972 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine).  See below for bios and photos of this year's winners.



Executive Branch Awardee
The Honorable Arden L. Bement, Jr., PhD
Former Director, National Science Foundation

Arden L. Bement, Jr., PhD, is the inaugural director for the Global Policy Research Institute and the Chief Global Affairs Officer at Purdue University. Previous to his appointments at Purdue University, he served as the 12th director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). While director of the NSF, Dr. Bement served as a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and as the vice-chair of the Commission's Natural Sciences and Engineering Committee. Prior to his confirmation as NSF director, Dr. Bement served as Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the Department of Commerce, a position he had held since Dec. 7, 2001. He joined NIST from Purdue University, where he was the David A. Ross Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering and head of the School of Nuclear Engineering. Dr. Bement joined the Purdue faculty after a 39-year career in industry, government and academia. He has earned numerous awards and served in diverse government advisory roles.


Private Sector Awardee
Jeffrey Wadsworth, PhD
President and CEO, Battelle Memorial Institute

Jeffrey Wadsworth, PhD, has been President and CEO of Battelle Memorial Institute, the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, since January, 2009. Dr. Wadsworth formerly led Battelle’s Global Laboratory Operations business. He also led the development of partnerships with the private sector in Malaysia, and the expansion of Battelle’s operations into Japan, Korea, China, and India. Prior to joining Battelle, Dr. Wadsworth worked at Stanford University, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Wadsworth was educated at Sheffield University in England. He has authored or co-authored nearly 300 scientific papers and 1 book, and holds four US patents. His many honors and awards include five honorary doctorates, two honorary professorships from Chinese universities, and election to the rank of Fellow of three technical societies. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2005.


Private Sector Awardee
Elon Musk
CEO/CTO, Space Exploration Technologies, and
CEO/Product Architect, Tesla Motors

Elon Musk is the CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors and the CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).  At SpaceX, Mr. Musk is the chief designer, overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets. At Tesla, Mr. Musk has overseen product development and design from the beginning, including the all electric Tesla Roadster and Model S sedan.  Transitioning to a sustainable energy economy, in which electric vehicles play a pivotal role, has been one of his central interests for almost two decades. In addition, Mr. Musk is the non-executive chairman and principal shareholder of SolarCity, which he helped create.  SolarCity is a leading provider of solar power systems in the United States. Prior to SpaceX, Mr. Musk co-founded PayPal, the world's leading Internet payment system, and served as the company's Chairman and CEO.  Before PayPal, Mr. Musk co-founded Zip2, a provider of Internet software to the media industry. He has a physics degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a business degree from Wharton.


Lifetime Achievement Awardee
Gerald M. Edelman, MD, PhD
Director, The Neurosciences Institute, and
President , Neurosciences Research Foundation

Gerald M. Edelman, MD, PhD, is Director of The Neurosciences Institute and President of Neurosciences Research Foundation, a publicly supported not-for-profit organization that is the Institute’s parent. Separately, he is Professor at The Scripps Research Institute and Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at that institution.  His early studies focused on the structure, diversity, and function of antibodies. In 1972, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on antibodies, which transformed our understanding of the immune response. His subsequent work led to the discovery of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), which have been found to guide the fundamental processes by which an animal achieves its shape and form and by which nervous systems are built.  To understand higher brain functions, Edelman and his colleagues designed and constructed a series of mobile devices with simulated brains. These brain-based devices (BBDs) were shown to be capable of learning, operant conditioning, and episodic memory.  Dr. Edelman has also formulated a detailed theory to explain the development and organization of higher brain functions.