I was just notified that I have been elected Fellow of SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics. In the past, I was very negative about awards. As a young assistant professor, I got a note from the dean of the College of Sciences that he was planing to nominate me for an award. My response to him is reproduced below.
Thanks for thinking about awards that would be appropriate for my research area. While I appreciate your confidence that I am a reasonable candidate, I frankly dislike the concept of an award in the sciences and would rather not be nominated. There are many reasons for my distaste for prizes: they distort the motivation for research; they stifle interaction between researchers who worry too much about getting credit for results; they encourage form and marketing over substance; and they consume resources that would be better spent on science. I therefore ask that I not be nominated for an award.
Thanks again for being supportive of our work.
Mark G. Kuzyk
In my older age, I recognize that it is a great privilege to have an employer who supports my addiction to physics, and that awards reflect well on the institution. I truly appreciate my position at Washington State University, where I am encouraged to feed my passions and to infect others around me.