The award is presented annually to honor scientists and engineers whose exemplary actions have served to foster scientific freedom and responsibility.
In the 1970s, Reich revealed how the Soviet government was using psychiatric abuse to curb dissent and stifle dissenters in the Soviet Union. He worked continuously to educate policymakers and members of the scientific and psychiatric communities regarding this mis-use of the tools of psychiatry.
Reich learned that for years Soviet psychiatrists had diagnosed political dissidents as mentally ill, a tactic that allowed the government to avoid embarrassing public trials and to discredit dissent as the product of sick minds. Once committed to psychiatric hospitals, usually special institutions for the criminally insane, the dissidents were given injections that caused convulsions or torpor, or wrapped in wet canvas that shrank tightly upon drying. Reich's revelations shocked the international community.
To further the cause of scientific freedom and responsibility, Reich has also examined diagnostic practices in the United States, to ensure that similar abuses would not occur.
In addition to his position at the George Washington University, Reich is also a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; a lecturer in psychiatry at Yale University; and Contributing Editor of the Wilson Quarterly. Previously, he served as director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum from 1995--1998, where he founded the Center for
Contact: Monica Amarelo
American Association for the Advancement of Science