“…And the award is named for…”

And the award is named for photo

What's more prestigious than winning the top award in your field? Having the top award in your field named after you for others to win.

Many Jews have risen to prominence in their fields. So much so, that in many cases a high honor, prize or award in that field is named for a Jewish pioneer in that area. Here's an overview of the sheer range of fields in which Jews have excelled to this degree.

One of the most-recognized awards -- up there with the Oscar and Nobel -- is the Pulitzer Prize. It was named for Jewish newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, and is given for excellence by an American in journalism, literature and music. Other awards in literature have been named for novelist Franz Kafka, poet Nelly Sachs, and sci-fi magazine publisher Hugo Gernsback (he also coined the term "science fiction").

At the crossroads of words and pictures are the comic book and graphic novel. The top award for graphic novels is named for one of the form's pioneers, Will Eisner (more on him later). Others have been named for Mad Magazine editor Harvery Kurtzman, Superman co-creator Joe Shuster, Jack Kirby (co-creator of Captain America, The Hulk, The X-Men, and more) and Rube Goldberg, improbable-machine "inventor."

Movies also combine words and pictures, and one of the top awards in that field is prestigious even among the Oscars. The Irving Thalberg Award is a lifetime achievement honor given to producers.

For just pictures alone, one could win a medal named for photojournalist Robert Capa (note: potentially disturbing images in this link).

The sciences have no less benefitted by the achievements of Jews. As one might expect, several awards are given in the name of AlbertEinstein.

And there are other prizes named for his fellow Jewish physics Nobelists Richard Feynman, Niels Bohr and Max Born. Meanwhile, J. Robert Oppenheimer was nominated three times, but never won, despite his work on everything from black holes to the atomic bomb (maybe because of his work on the atomic bomb? I mean, these people also give Peace Prizes …).

The Jewish contribution to medicine is honored with awards named for polio-conqueror Albert Sabin, chemotherapy pioneer Paul Ehrlich and biochemist Mildred Cohn.

There are awards named for everyone from broadcaster David Sarnoff to someone you might have watched on one of his television networks, astrophysicist Carl Sagan.

Outside the arts and sciences, we find awards for named for Jewish Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, which awards achievements in privacy rights protection for patients, and Rabbi Martin Katzenstein, given by the Harvard Divinity School.

In other cases, a Jewish philanthropist with an interest in promoting the arts and sciences, or even just one field, may create a prize that becomes recognized as a great honor in that field. These include: The Pritzker Architechture Prize, the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards, the Wolf Prize (in Agriculture, Chemistry, Mathematics, Medicine, Physics and Arts), and the Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award.

OK, so what's even more prestigious than having the top award in your field named after you? Winning that award yourself. Named for him in 1988, Will Eisner won the Will Eisner Award in 1992.

Paul Wieder photo 375
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