The Vetlesen Prize

The Vetlesen Prize was established in 1959 by the New York-based G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation.  Awarded for “scientific achievement resulting in a clearer understanding of the Earth, its history, or its relation to the universe”, the prize was designed to be the Nobel Prize of the earth sciences. The prize is administered by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, one of the world’s leading earth-science research institutions, which convenes a committee from both its own ranks and those of other major institutions to judge nominations.
Competition for the Vetlesen Prize is open to any individual worldwide. The prize includes a cash award of $250,000 and the medal.


Past Vetlesen Laureates

Click here  for a list of past Veltesen Laureates


G. Unger Vetlesen

Georg Unger Vetlesen was a Norwegian sailor and naval engineer who became a successful ship builder in the United States. He served as a commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and later became president and chairman of the U.S. company representing the Norwegian American Line. He also was a founder and chairman of the board of the Scandinavian Airline System, Inc. G. Unger Vetlesen established the foundation which bears his name shortly before his death in 1955. In addition to the Vetlesen Prize, the foundation provides support in the Earth sciences for institutions of excellence.  Learn more


2017 Vetlesen Prize Laureate

Two scientists, Mark A. Cane of Columbia University and S. George Philander of Princeton University, who untangled the complex forces that drive El Niño, have won the 2017 Vetlesen Prize.  Learn more.


Related press release:  Two Who Enabled El Niño Forecasts Win 2017 Vetlesen Prize