The second annual Golden Goose Award ceremony was held on September 19th. The Golden Goose Award is given to obscure federally funded research projects that ultimately resulted in breakthroughs with wide-ranging benefits. The name comes from The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs fairytale. One of the 2013 awardees exemplifies the potential application of very basic and somewhat obscure science.
In 1966, Thomas Brock, a microbiologist, and his undergraduate research assistant, Hudson Freeze, set out for Yellowstone. They were interested in organisms that live in the most extreme of conditions. They collected bacteria thriving in the hot springs of the park. Among the samples they collected, one was called Thermus aquaticus. Molecular biologists around the world know it by its more common nickname, Taq. Continue reading “Duck, Duck, Golden Goose!”