Dr. Gerald R. Fink, director of the Whitehead Institute, and Dr. Phillip A. Sharp, head of the Department of Biology, have announced the establishment of the Edwin C. Whitehead Prize in Biology in memory of the Whitehead Institute's founder and patron, Mr. Edwin C. "Jack" Whitehead.
The $500 prize will be awarded annually by the biology department to one or more MIT undergraduate students who, by virtue of their accomplishments and abilities, show outstanding promise for a career in biological research. Recipients of the prize will be selected from a pool nominated by the biology faculty.
"One of Jack's goals in establishing the Whitehead Institute was to provide a stimulating and supportive environment for young scientists with innovative ideas," Dr. Fink says. "We thought it would be appropriate to honor his memory by reaching out to future scientists to encourage them along the path of scientific development."
The Prize also celebrates the highly valued partnership between the Whitehead Institute and MIT. All Whitehead members and associate members have faculty appointments in the MIT biology department and Whitehead laboratories provide research opportunities for numerous MIT undergraduates and graduate students.
Dr. Sharp says, "We have many outstanding undergraduates in the department and we are thrilled to be able to recognize their contributions by this prize provided by friends of Jack Whitehead's."
Mr. Whitehead, founder and benefactor of the Whitehead Institute and a Life Member of the MIT Corporation, died on February 2, 1992, at the age of 72. His long and distinguished career in science and industry included establishment of Technicon Corporation, a company known worldwide as a pioneer in scientific and clinical instrumentation. Mr. Whitehead also was widely known for his philanthropic activities. In his later years, he was a founder and Chairman of the Board of Research!America, an organization devoted to focusing the entire nation on the urgency of investing in medical research.
The first Edwin C. Whitehead Prize in Biology will be awarded in May 1993.
A version of this article appeared in the December 2, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 15).