The Origin-of-Life Prize ®

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Judges of The Origin-of-Life Prize Include:

Below is the original list of judges, each of whom agreed to judge the Prize in writing, at least via email, but usually by signed hard-copy form letters which are still on file. Some of these judges have passed away over the last 13 years. We deliberately leave them on the original list to honor their prominence in the life origin community during their long careers. New judges are welcome to participate as long as they have no affiliation of any kind with the Foundation.

So far, over the last dozen years of judging, no submission has been passed up to the second tier of judges by the first-tier of outside evaluators. This means that very few of the higher level judges have ever been asked to review a submission. This is not the fault of the Foundation. We have no control over outside judges' decisions. We regularly send submissions out to one or two higher level judges just to make sure that the lower-tier judges are not being too harsh. In some instances, we have sent what we felt were quality submissions out to 20 lower-tier judges rather than the required 10. Since the Prize was first announced in NATURE and SCIENCE, a total of only two thumbs-up votes have been recieved from outside judges.

Name . Country . Organizational Affiliation

Freeman J. Dyson, USA, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
A. Graham Cairns-Smith, SCOTLAND, University of Glasgow (ret),
Jack W. Szostak, USA, Dept. of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts Gen. Hosp.
Jeffrey Tze-Fei Wong, HONG KONG, Biochem., Hong Kong Univ.of Sci.& Tech.
Charles H. Townes, USA, Physics Dept, University of California at Berkeley
John D. Barrow, U.K., Appl Math & Theor Physics, Cambridge
Pier Luigi Luisi, SWITZERLAND, Institut fur Polymere, ETH-Zurich
Paul Davies, AUSTRALIA, Professor of Physics, Burnside, South Australia
Werner R. Loewenstein, USA, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory
Paul Schimmel, USA, The Scripps Research Institute, Skaggs Institute
Edward O. Wilson, USA, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard
Hyman Hartman, USA, M.I.T.; Inst Adv Stud in Biol, Berkeley
Robert Shapiro, USA, Department of Chemistry, New York University
Guy Ourisson, FRANCE, Pres. Academy of Sciences, Centre de Neurochemie
Christoph Adami, USA, California Institute of Technology
J. Peter Gogarten, USA, Dept.of Molecular & Cell Biology, Univ.of Connecticut
Koichiro Matsuno, JAPAN, Nagoaka Univ.of Technol., Dept.of Bioengineering
Wolfram Thiemann, GERMANY, Biologie/Chemie, Universitat Bremen
Massimo Di Giulio, ITALY, Internat Instit of Genetics & Biophysics, CNR
Ronald R. Breaker, USA, Biology Department, Yale University
Iluis Ribas de Pouplana, USA, TSRI, The Scripps Research Institute
Kenneth H. Nealson, USA, JPL, Geol & Planetary Sciences, Caltech
Noam Lahav, ISRAEL, The Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture
Anthony D. Keefe, USA, Mol Biol, Mass Gen Hosp, Harvard Medical School
George E. Fox, USA, Biochemical & Biophysical Sci, Univ. Houston
Patrick Forterre, FRANCE, Inst. de Genetique et Microbiol., Universit‚ Paris
Doron Lancet, ISRAEL, Dept Membrane Res & Biophys, Weizmann Inst Sci.
Jacques Ninio, FRANCE, Lab Physique Statis, Ecole Normale Supervieure
Peter E. Nielsen, DENMARK, Biomolecular Recognition, The Panum Institute
Romeu Cardoso Guimaraes, BRAZIL, Biologica Gen, Inst. Ciencias Biol
Robin D. Knight, USA, Dept. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Princeton U.
Y. J. Pendleton, USA, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field
Donald H. Burke, USA, Department of Biochemistry, Indiana University
Edward J. Steele, Australia, Biol. Sciences, Univ. Wollongong
Hans Kuhn, SWITZERLAND, Max Planck Institut Biophysikalische Chemie (ret)
Hubert P. Yockey, USA, Aberdeen Proving Grounds (ret)
Margaret A. Boden, Professor, U.K., Cognitive & Computing Sci, U. Sussex
Liaofu Luo, CHINA, Department of Physics, Inner Mongolia University
Klaus Dose, GERMANY, Institut Biochemie, JOH. Gutenberg-Universitat
Oleg V. Davydov, REP. OF BELARUS, Belarussian Inst. Epidem. & Microbiology
Wolfgang E. Krumbein, GERMANY, Geomicrobiology ICBN, Univ. Oldenburg
Manfred Schidlowski, GERMANY, Biogeochem, Max-Planck-Institue
KC Nicolaou, USA, Department of Chemistry, Scripps Research Institute
P. W. Atkins, Ph.D., U.K., Lincoln College, Oxford University
Akihiro Shimada, JAPAN, Institute of Applied Biochemistry, Univ.of Tsukuba
Hakobu Nakamura, JAPAN, Professor (emeritus), Biological Inst., Konan Univ.
Joseph L. Kirschvink, USA, Geology, California Institute of Technology
Joseph A. Burns, USA, Planetary Sciences, Cornell University
Kensei Kobayashi, JAPAN, Dept.of Chem.and Biotech, Yokohama Nat.Univ.
Alexander S. Erokhin, CANADA, Organic Catalysis, Moscow State U.
Bernd M. Rode, AUSTRIA, Inst for Inorganic & Theor Chem., U. Innsbruck
Yuzuru Husimi, Prof., D. Sc., JAPAN, Functional Materials Sci, Saitama Univer
Hiroaki Sawai, JAPAN, Faculty of Eng., Dept.of Chem., Gunma University
Jean Heidmann, FRANCE, Astrophysique, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon
Yu-Fen Zhao, CHINA, Bio-organic Phos Chem Lab, Tsinghua University
Boris F. Poglazov, RUSSIA, Bach Institute of Biochemistry, Moscow
J. I. Lunine, USA, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
Vladimir A. Otroschenko, RUSSIA, Bach Inst Biochemistry, Leninsky Prospekt
Anastassia Kanavarioti, USA, Biochemistry, Univ. of California SC
Phillip S. Skell, USA, Organic Chemistry Prof Emeritus, Penn St
Anatoly D. Altstein, MD, PhD, DrSc, RUSSIA, Viral Genetics, Inst. Gene Biol.
Wolfgang M. Heckl, GERMANY, Crystallography, University Munchen
Tairo Oshima, JAPAN, Life Sciences, Tokyo University
Michael J. Russell, SCOTLAND, Geology & Applied Geology, Univ.of Glasgow
Allan J. Hall, SCOTLAND, Dept of Archaeology, University of Glasgow
Daniel Segre, USA, Membrane Res & Biophysics, Harvard University
Saverio Alberti, ITALY, Head, Lab of Exper Oncology, CMNS
Liliane Merle, FRANCE, Biopolymers & Membranes, U. Rouen CNRS
David S. Wilson, USA, Molecular Biology, Harvard Medical School
Avshalom C Elitzur, ISRAEL, Chemical Physics, Weizmann Institute of Science
Hiroshi Mizutani, JAPAN, College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University
Auguste Commeyras, FRANCE, Organic Chem, Universite de Montpellier II
Vladimir N. Kompanichenko, RUSSIA, Instit for Complex Analysis, Khaborovsk
Virginia Trimble, USA, Astronomy Department, University of Maryland
Rocco L. Mancinelli, USA, NASA Ames Research Center, SETI Institute
Alam T. Kamaluddin, INDIA, Professor, Dept.of Chemistry, Univ.of Roorkee
Evgeny I. Klabunovskii, RUSSIA, Asymmetric Catalysis; Russian Acad. of Sci
Vladimir A. Basiuk, MEXICO, Inst Ciencias Nucleares, UNAM
Nathalie A. Cabrol, USA, Planetary Sciences, NASA Ames Research Center
Daniel L. Gilbert, USA, NINDS, Unit on Ros, National Institutes of Health
Vlado Valkovic, CROATIA, Institute Ruder Boskovic, Zagreb
Mitchell K. Hobish, USA, Consulting Synthesist, Baltimore, MD
Walter L. Bradley, USA, Mechanical Engineering, Texas A & M University
Emanuel Margoliash, USA, Biological Sciences, University of Illinois
Almaz A. Iskakov, KAZAKSTAN, Dept. of Medbiophysics, Medical Academy
Arthur Chadwick, Ph.D., USA, Molecular Biology/Geology, SWAU
Marina N. Fomenkova, USA, Astrobiology, University of California, San Diego
Janice L. Bishop, USA, SETI Institute, NASA Ames Research Center
Miloje M. Rakocevic, YUGOSLAVIA, Chemistry, University of Nis
Vera Kolb, USA, Dept.of Chemistry, Univ.of Wisconsin-Parkside
Mitchell D. Schulte, USA, NASA Ames Research Center, CA
B. I. Kurganov, RUSSIA, A. N. Bach Inst of Biochemistry
Olivier Toussaint, BELGIUM, Cellular Biochemistry and Biology, U. Namur
Gavin W. Chan, USA, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University
Robert E. Blankenship, USA, Biochemistry, Arizona State University
Paul Abell, USA, Dept.of Chemistry, Univ.of Rhode Island
Yves-Henri Sanejouand, FRANCE, Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal
Andrew S. Garay, USA, Dept.of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M Univ.
Farid Salama, USA, NASA Ames Research Center, CA
John D. Sutherland, UK, Department of Chemistry, University of Manchester
Shuguang Zhang, USA, Dept.of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. L. Allamandola, USA, NASA Ames Research Center
Jan P. Amend, USA, Earth & Planetary Sci, Washington University
James W. Brown, USA, Dept.of Microbiology, North Carolina State Univ.
Ricardo Ferreira, BRAZIL, Departamento de Quimica Fundamental, UFPE
Krishnan C. K. Nair, INDIA, Rad Biology Div, BhaBha Atomic Res Centre
Donald E. Brooks, CANADA, Pathology, University of British Columbia
S. Vijayakumar, USA, Department of Medicine, Columbia University
Raik-Hiio Mikelsaar, ESTONIA, Genetics & Molecular Path Inst., Tartu Univ.
Ricardo Amils, SPAIN, Biologia Molecular, Univer. Autonoma de Madrid
Anastasios A. Tsonis, USA, Mathematical Sciences, Univ. Wisc-Milwauk
Martino Rizzotti, ITALY, Dipartimento di Biologia, Padova
Bernard Barbier, FRANCE, Centre de Biophysique Moleculaire, cNRS
Charles B. Thaxton, USA, Natural Sciences, Charles University
Thomas G. Waddell, USA, Dept.of Chemistry, Univ.of Tenn. at Chatanooga
Bernd R.T. Simoneit, USA, College of Oceanic & Atmospheric Sci. Oregon St.U.
Alain Figureau, FRANCE, Institut de Physique Nucleaire
Stanley I. Goldberg, USA, Dept.of Chemistry, University of New Orleans
Lajos Keszthelyi, HUNGARY, Biophysics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Arvydas Tamulis, LITHUANIA, Head, T.M.E.R., Inst.Theoret.Phys.& Astron.
J. M. Kaper, USA, Beltsville Agricul Res Center Retired
Changfu Wei, USA, Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Germinal Cocho, MEXICO, Instituto de fisica, UNAM
Sergei A. Seleznev, KAZAKSTAN, Medical Biophysics, Med.Acad.,Astana
Ragnar Osterberg, SWEDEN, Chemistry, The Swedish Univ. Agri. Sci
H”rdur Kristjansson, ICELAND, Isteka-Lyfjaverslun Islands hf., Grens.
V. Sitaramam, INDIA, Biotechnology Department, University of Poona
Ricardo Garcia-Pelayo, SPAIN, Centro de Astrobiolligia, INTA
John F. Stolz, USA, Dept.of Biological Sciences, Duquesne University
Brian D. Lanoil, USA, Astrobiology, California Institute of Technology
Lisa Y. Stein, USA, Biochemistry, California Institute of Technology
James R. Lyons, USA, California Institute of Technology
Lea Cox, USA, Jet Propulsion Lab, California Institute of Technology
Roger R. Hill, UK, Resrch Dir., Dept.of Chemistry, The Open University
D. H. Ardell, USA, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University
Pierre Sonigo, MD, PhD, FRANCE, Genetique des Virus, Inst Cochin Gen Mol
Andree C. Ehresmann, FRANCE, Faculte de Mathematiques et d'Informatique
Georges Trinquier, FRANCE, Lab de Physique Quantique, IRSAMC-CNRS
A. E. Lyubarev, RUSSIA, A. N. Bach Inst of Biochemistry
Narcinda R. Lerner, USA, SETI Institute, NASA Ames Research Center
V. J. Norris, FRANCE, Laboratory of Microbiology, Universite de Rouen
Kawamura Kunio, JAPAN, Dept.of Applied Chem., Osaka Prefecture Univ.
Rosemarie Swanson, USA, Dept.of Biochemistry, Texas A&M University
Friedemann Freund, USA, NASA Ames Research Center, CA
Michael R. Rampino, USA, Department of Biology, New York University
Jean-Christophe Plaquevent, FRANCE, Univ. Rouen, Lab. Chimie Organique
Mario Medugno, ITALY, Instit per la Pianificazione e Gestione
J. Seb Gillette, USA, Department of Chemistry, Stanford University
Timothy A. Kral, USA, Dept.of Biological Sciences, Univ.of Arkansas
Martin A. Schoonen, USA, Dept.of Earth,& Space Sciences, State Univ. of N. Y.
A. Hochberg, ISRAEL, Biological Chemistry, The Hebrew Univ of Jer
Hans-Peter Herzel, GERMANY, Institut fur Theoretische Biologie
Regis Courtin, FRANCE, DESPA./LAM, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon
R. Holliday, AUSTRALIA, CSIRO Division of Molecular Sciences
Emma L. Bakes, USA, NASA Ames Research Center
Roger Douglas Keen, NEW ZEALAND, Mobil Oil (NZ) Ltd.
Christof Bohler, SWITZERLAND, Fluka Chemie AG, Industriestrasse 25, Buchs
Frank D. Drake, USA, SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA
L Varetto, BELGIUM, Centre for Protein Engineering, University de Liege
T. Greg Dewey, USA, Depart of Chemistry/Biochemistry, Univ of Denver
Robert H. White, USA, Dept.of Biochemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Inst.
Jean Schneider, FRANCE, Observatoire de Paris, Place Jules Janssen
DS Dwyer, USA, Louisiana State University Medical Center
Allan G. Lindh, USA, U.S. Geological Survey
Pedro Miramontes, MEXICO, Facultad de Ciencias, UNAM, Cd. Universitaria
Enrique Macia Barber, SPAIN, Fisica de Materiales, Ciudad Universitaria
Janos K. Lanyi, USA, Dept.of Physiol.& Biophys., College of Med., Univ.CA
M. B. Chaley, RUSSIA, Bioengineering, Russian Academy of Sciences
G. Kurat, AUSTRIA, Mineralogische Abteilung; Naturhistorisches Museum Wien
Panagiotis A. Tsonis, USA, Department of Biology, The University of Dayton
D. J. Raine, U.K., Department of Physics and Astronomy, Univ. of Leicester
Pier Luigi Orioli, ITALY, Dept. of Chemistry, Univ. of Florence
Juli Pereto, SPAIN, Departament Bioquimica, Universitat de Valencia
X. Xia, CHINA, Department of Ecology and Biodiversity, Univ. Hong Kong
Kimiko Umemoto, CANADA, Vancover, BC Department of Chemistry, ICU
Marco Franchi, ITALY, Animal Biology & Genetics, Univ. Florence
Charles N. McEwen, USA, Chemistry Depart, E. I. Du Pont de Nemours
Shijun Ren, USA, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Univ. Southern California
M. A. Jimenez-Montano, MEXICO, Fisica y Matematicas, U. Americas/Puebla
Iwona Mroz, POLAND, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Wroclaw
Alfonso Jimenez-Sanchez, SPAIN, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Genetics
Sebastian Mendez-Alvarez, SPAIN, Biol Fonamental, U. Autonoma de Barcelon
W. Schutte, THE NETHERLANDS, Math & Nat Sciences, Leiden Observatory
Harold P. Klein, USA, SETI Institute, Palo Alto, CA
Eric J. Lien, USA, Dept. of Pharm. Sci, School of Pharmacy, USC
James D. Bashford, AUSTRALIA, Physics Department, University of Tasmania
Bruce N. Runnegar, USA, Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences, UCLA
Lowell Owens, USA, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, retired
Bernard Korzeniewski, Poland, Biochem/Biophysics, Jagiellonian Univerisity

All substantive judging has been turned over to the scientific community as represented by nearly 200 judges in over forty countries listed above. Foundation employees shall not participate in the judging process.

Not all submissions will be reviewed by all five tiers of judges. Only those submissions receiving 70% or better recommendation shall be advanced to the next tier level of judges.

Judging shall be done anonymously, as with peer-reviewed journal paper submissions. Applicants shall not be given access by the Foundation to the information of judge's individual voting decisions on their submission, or of which judges participated in evaluating a particular submission.

Published articles are necessarily open to public critique regardless of their inclusion in a submission to the Foundation. The authorship of these papers is also known by most judges prior to submission to the Foundation. No attempt will be made to mask the identity of submitters to judges who are evaluating that submission.

The decisions of the judges are final and irrevocable for that submission.

Judges will be asked to provide brief reasons for acceptance or rejection of any submission for the Prize. Upon request of the submitters, the Foundation will share this general information with applicants in summarized form without identifying the specific sources of the appraisals. New submissions may be made by the same submitters following unsuccessful submissions. A new application fee must be paid with each new submission, however.

Judges need not recuse themselves from judging other applicants' submissions in order to submit for the Prize themselves. Judges at all levels may simultaneously submit applications for the Prize themselves. Conflicts of interest are easily avoided because of the large number of highly competent origin-of-life investigators at all levels from many countries who have agreed to review submissions. Judges will not be permitted to participate in judging 1) their own submissions, or 2) submissions from their own institutional affilitation.

Simultaneous research

In the event that two or more independent applications are deemed to meet the requirements equally well for receiving the Prize, judges shall weigh two factors in deciding whether to split the cash award: .

In cases where one submitter has provided the required hypothetical models of mechanism, and another submitter has provided the crucial required empirical support, the Foundation may invite both to resubmit a new joint submission for the Prize, in which case the Prize might be jointly awarded and the monetary value divided equally among the joint applicants.


The Gene Emergence Project, its parent Foundation, and its benefactors assume no responsibility for eliminating the possibility of plagiarism or fraud in an applicant's published papers or submission. Applicants must agree to hold the Foundation blameless in any contestation of their being awarded the Prize by outside parties claiming that their work was stolen or plagiarized by the winner. Once the Prize is awarded, the Foundation will continue making Prize annuity payments to the winner/s unless legally enjoined to withhold such payments.

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The Origin-of-Life Prize ®

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The Gene Emergence Project ®

of The Origin-of-Life Science Foundation, Inc. ®

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