Mensa Foundation Prize

Mensa Foundation Prize medal

The Mensa Foundation Prize is awarded biennially for the best scientific discovery in the field of intelligence or creativity. Endowed by the estate of Kenneth Douglas Thomson (1934-2013), the award includes a $10,000 prize, personal plaque and medal.

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Prize Qualifications

  1. The Prize shall be awarded for the “best scientific discovery in the field of intelligence and/or creativity.” This may include both applied and fundamental discoveries in areas such as brain-related research, creation of tools and mechanisms for advancing such research or any significant research that leads to an improved understanding of human intelligence including artificial intelligence.
  2. The discovery must be documented in a major peer-reviewed scientific journal.
  3. Nominees must present supporting evidence for the above requirements, for example a bibliography of meritorious papers related to the fundamental discovery and an abstract of the most important paper along with a CV.
  4. There is no time limit on the discovery, however, all things being equal, a more recent discovery is given preference.
  5. One or two letters of recommendation, acquired by the Nominator, from colleagues in the field are required as part of a nomination package including the above.
  6. Neither nominees nor nominators need be members of Mensa.
  7. The Prize recipient, or an appointed representative, must attend the Mensa Annual Gathering award ceremony.
  8. Winners may be asked to give a presentation on their achievements at the Mensa Annual Gathering.
  9. Self-nomination is not accepted.

Important Dates

Nomination Submission Deadline: Feb. 28
Committee Decision: May 15

Mensa Foundation Prize Committee

Dr. Harry Ringermacher, Ph.D., physics
Committee Chair (Mensa)

Dr. Susan Stine, M.D., Ph.D., neuroscience
Committee Member (Mensa)

Dr. Steven Maranz, Ph.D., plant science, microbiologist
Committee Member (Mensa)

Dr. Ivar Giaever, Ph.D., physics, microbiologist
Committee Member (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1973)

Judith A. Keating, CPA, TCE-IRS
Committee Recording Secretary

About Kenneth Douglas Thomson (1934-2013)

Kenneth Douglas Thomson was an industrious, frugal and enterprising individual. For nearly 50 years, he was a member of Mensa and valued the organization as much as he valued intelligence and learning. Kenneth was self-taught in a number of fields, among them carpentry, cabinetmaking, electronics, auto mechanics and cooking. He used some of that knowledge — and vast stores of creativity — to build on the East and West Coasts several homes that included his stunning handmade kitchen cabinets in mosaics of tropical hardwoods.

Traumatized by abuse in his youth, Kenneth was reclusive in adulthood. He chose to direct the fortune he had accumulated to several organizations. One component of his estate will be used to prevent child abuse. Another generous bequest will help the Mensa Education & Research Foundation, where it will be used to create the Mensa Foundation Prize. We join him in his fervent hope that this prize, to be awarded every other year in recognition of the best scientific discovery in the field of intelligence and/or creativity, will inspire scientists to explore the fields that mattered so deeply to Kenneth.

Judith A. Keating and John Kenneth Evans