Franklin Institute selects UO's Posner for elite award

Michael Posner

Add yet another award to the vita of UO psychologist Michael Posner.

Posner, professor emeritus at the UO and adjunct professor at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College, has been selected to receive the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science "for his central role in establishing the fields of cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience."

His work, the Franklin Institute noted in its Oct. 17 announcement, has helped increase the "understanding of the human mind through the pioneering use of reaction times and brain imaging in rigorous analyses to characterize attention, individual differences in attention and both typical and atypical attentional development."

Posner is one of eight scientists who will be honored with field-specific awards May 4 in Philadelphia, where the institute is located. Past winners of Franklin Institute's awards have included Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Jacques Cousteau, Jane Goodall and Bill Gates.

"I am very grateful for this recognition of what has been achieved at the UO in psychology, cognition and neuroscience over half a century and the wonderful collaborators I have now and have had in the past," Posner said.

His awards include a National Medal of Science, the John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science and the Dana Foundation Award for pioneering work in medicine. Posner is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the British Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences. He also is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Sciences. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1979-80 and chosen as the scientist of the year in 1995 by the Oregon Academy of Sciences.

Posner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in psychology in 1957 and 1959, respectively, from the University of Washington in Seattle and a doctorate in psychology in 1962 from the University of Michigan. He served as head of the UO psychology department from 1995-1998.

The Franklin Institute Awards have publicly recognized and encouraged pre-eminent accomplishments in science and technology on an international level since its founding in 1824.