CHICAGO — A former University of Illinois physicist and supercomputing expert will be honored with an award for his early work in developing Web browsers.
The Golden Goose Award honors those whose federally funded research may not have seemed to have significant practical applications at the time it was conducted but has resulted in major economic or other benefits to society.
It was announced at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago. The award will be given to Smarr on Sept. 18 in Washington, D.C.
Smarr's work on calculating black hole collisions led him to champion a federal commitment to dramatically enhance U.S. computing power, which in turn led to the development of the National Center for Supercomputing Application's Mosaic, the precursor to web browsers.
Smarr was a physics professor at the UI and was later the director of NCSA from 1985 to 2000. He is now a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego, and director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology.
Recipients are selected by a panel of scientists and university research leaders.
"The Golden Goose Award celebrates unexpected discoveries, and there's no better example than the World Wide Web," said Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee, in a news release.
"Dr. Smarr's work is a perfect example of why Congress must remain committed to basic scientific research," Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Illinois, added.