Sidney Prize is an award that honours people who have done well for humanity. It is a great way to recognise their work and encourage others to do the same. There are many different prizes out there, but the Sidney prize is one of the most prestigious. It is awarded on a national basis and is worth a lot of money.
In 2004 New York Times columnist David Brooks established the SS Sidney Prize, which honors the year’s best long-form essays on politics and culture that capture the essence of contemporary American scholarship and commentary. Brooks has been giving the awards—named after philosopher Sidney Hook—every year since. This year he chose Amanda Hess’ article on online sexism as the winner.
Other finalists included Joelle Andrea Simeu Juegouo’s piece on the rebirth of Indigenous languages and Julio Cesar Hidalgo Lopez’s essay on the University of Sydney art history department. All undergraduate seniors are eligible to be nominated for the prize. Students are notified in early March and the nominees are presented to the undergraduate faculty at the April undergraduate faculty meeting. Faculty vote by secret ballot and the senior who receives the highest number of votes is given the award. The winner also speaks at the undergraduate Baccalaureate service.
As a scientist, Sid was unafraid to challenge accepted dogma. His discoveries often required him to fend off skeptical colleagues, but he did not waver in his convictions. He was also a vocal proponent of academic freedom and was a cosignatory, along with many other leading scientists, of the statement condemning the international boycott of Israeli academics.
He was always searching for new frontiers in science, and he found them in molecular biology. Sid joined Leonard Lerman’s laboratory at Vanderbilt and was assigned to a project that would revolutionize the field of genetics. Sid’s contribution was to discover that the bacteriophage T4 DNA replication protein generates single-strand breaks in DNA by cleavage of its own 5′ ends. He was particularly proud of the fact that he was the first to do so and that the discovery had a profound impact on molecular biology and other areas of science.
Nazanin Boniadi is an activist and advocate who fights tirelessly for human rights and women’s rights in her native Iran. On behalf of the City of Sydney, I congratulate her and am pleased to award her with the 2019 SS Sidney Prize. She is turning outrage into action and I look forward to welcoming her to our city in the future.