Alysia Steinmann and David Barry/Liberty Science Center

On Monday May 22, Liberty Science Center in Jersey City held the 11th Annual Genuis Gala.  John C. Mather, Katalin Karikó and Dr. Uma Valeti received the Genius Award, the Center’s highest honor, for their world-changing scientific discoveries.

The event was also a successful fundraiser for STEM education programs. Since its inception, the Genius Gala has raised nearly $25 million helping to make world-class science learning accessible to students, teachers and families, including those in high-needs communities.

Derby Chukwudi/Liberty Science Center

Richard Branson, a 2013 Genius Honoree, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Miss New Jersey USA Derby Chukwudi and cosmic cartographer and 2022 Genius Honoree Priyamvada Natarjan conferred the distinction upon the recipients.

Uma Valeti, Katalin Karikó, Paul Hoffman, John Mather/Liberty Science Center

The three Genius recipients have all made great contributions to the sciences. Dr. Uma Valeti is the CEO and co-founder of Upside Foods, the world’s first cultivated-meat company producing meat directly from animal cells. Katalin Karikó’s and her colleague co-discovered a technique that successfully introduced synthetic mRNA into humans where it provided the correct messaging for the cells to create necessary proteins to fight specific maladies. This profound breakthrough led to a collaboration with BioNTech to develop a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. John C. Mather, the senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, is an astrophysicist and cosmologist at NASA and has been named among the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by TIME Magazine. His work on the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite with George Smoot, which confirmed the Big Bang theory, earned him the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics. 

Quarantined Quartet/Liberty Science Center

Attendees of the gala were treated to a performance by the Quarantined Quartet, a New York City-based family guitar quartet that fuses Spanish, classical, flamenco and acoustic styles.

Liberty Science Center is located in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson near the Statue of Liberty. 

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