September 23, 2015

William Borucki, Principal Investigator for NASA’s Kepler Mission, Will Give Portion of Shaw Prize Funds to Union of Concerned Scientists

Scientist, Whose Work Led to Discovery of New Planets, Aims to Protect This One from Climate Change

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (September 23, 2015) – William Borucki, the principal investigator of NASA’s Kepler Mission, is donating a portion of his award from the Shaw Prize in Astronomy to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) to support the organization’s work in addressing climate change.

Shaw Prizes are awarded in Astronomy, Life Science and Medicine, and Mathematical Sciences and are among the most prestigious honors in those fields. Borucki won the Shaw Prize for developing and leading the Kepler Mission, which has resulted in the discovery of more than 1,000 confirmed planets and an additional 3,600 planetary candidates outside the solar system.

“I’ve spent a large portion of my career searching for other worlds,” Borucki said. “What we’ve found has underscored how important it is to protect this one. While we can detect other worlds, we cannot go to them. Our future is here on Earth and we must do much more to ensure that our planet’s climate remains hospitable.”

Borucki has spent his scientific career at NASA, starting with the Apollo missions in 1962, and he is continuing his research with the agency as an Ames Associate. He holds degrees in meteorology and physics from California State University, San Jose and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, respectively.

“We’re quite touched and excited to receive this support from such an accomplished scientist,” said Ken Kimmell, UCS’s president. “Science gives us many gifts and the discoveries he has made are fascinating and humbling.”

Borucki plans to give UCS $100,000 and will also donate prize money to the ALS Foundation.

Related materials are available online at: ucsusa.org/williamborucki.

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.