Recognition

A Sweet (Potato) Winner for Social Science Recognition
Linguistic evidence, like the Maori word for sweet potato being similar to the Quechua word, also suggests pre-Columbian contact.

A Sweet (Potato) Winner for Social Science

April 2, 2014 1230

Kumara on sale in New Zealand

Linguistic evidence, like the Maori word for sweet potato being similar to the Quechua word, also suggests pre-Columbian contact.

A paper that shines light on the enigmatic spread of the sweet potato throughout the populated bits of the Pacific Ocean and what that tells us about pre-Columbian contact between Polynesia and the Americas has been named one of six winners of the Cozzarelli Prize for scientific excellence and originality.

Six Cozzarelli awards are given out each year for papers that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, or PNAS, a pioneer of open access. The awards cover the breadth of the fields PNAS covers –physical and mathematical science, biology, engineering and applied science, biomedical science, and applied biological, agricultural and environmental science. The sweet potato paper was honored in the area of behavioral and social science.

In that paper, “Historical collections reveal patterns of diffusion of sweet potato in Oceania obscured by modern plant movements and recombination,” Caroline Roullier of France’s Centre International de Recherches en Agronomie pour le Développement and three co-authors used markers found in current sweet potato populations to add evidence for contact between Pacific islanders and South Americans before Europeans arrived in the New World. That relatively straightforward task, which runs in parallel with archaeological and linguistic investigations by others, has been made more difficult by later reintroductions of sweet potatoes, which “have reshuffled the crop’s initial genetic base, obscuring primary patterns of diffusion.” Nonetheless, Roullier and her colleagues say their research gives “strong support for prehistoric transfer(s) of sweet potato from South America (Peru-Ecuador region) into Polynesia.”

The award was established in 2005 and named in 2007 to honor late PNAS Editor-in-Chief Nicholas R. Cozzarelli. This year’s honorees will be recognized during the PNAS Editorial Board Meeting and the NAS Annual Meeting Awards Ceremony on April 27 in Washington, D.C.

To see the other papers recognized, click here.


Related Articles

2024 Holberg Prize Goes to Political Theorist Achille Mbembe
News
March 14, 2024

2024 Holberg Prize Goes to Political Theorist Achille Mbembe

Read Now
AAPSS Names Eight as 2024 Fellows
Announcements
March 13, 2024

AAPSS Names Eight as 2024 Fellows

Read Now
Britain’s Academy of Social Sciences Names Spring 2024 Fellows
Recognition
March 11, 2024

Britain’s Academy of Social Sciences Names Spring 2024 Fellows

Read Now
Berggruen Philosophy Prize Awarded to Sociologist Patricia Hill Collins
Recognition
October 24, 2023

Berggruen Philosophy Prize Awarded to Sociologist Patricia Hill Collins

Read Now
The Many Wins Represented by Claudia Goldin’s  Nobel Prize

The Many Wins Represented by Claudia Goldin’s Nobel Prize

Decades of research have seen economic historian Claudia Goldin methodically collate data and archival stories, detective style, to uncover explanations for the rise and fall (and rise again) of women’s paid employment over the centuries

Read Now
Harvard’s Claudia Goldin Receives Nobel for Work on Gender Labor Gap

Harvard’s Claudia Goldin Receives Nobel for Work on Gender Labor Gap

Economic historian and labor economist Claudia Goldin on Monday received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2023, commonly known as the Nobel in economics. The citation from the Nobel Committee cited Goldin “for having advanced our understanding of women’s labor market outcomes.”

Read Now
Britain’s Academy of Social Sciences Names 47 New Fellows

Britain’s Academy of Social Sciences Names 47 New Fellows

Forty-seven leading social scientists have been named to the Autumn 2023 cohort of fellows for Britain’s Academy of Social Sciences.

Read Now
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments