The Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science was established in 1990 through a bequest from Philadelphia chemical manufacturer and philanthropist Henry Bower (1896-1988). The award, a gold medal and cash prize of $250,000, is presented annually to a distinguished member of the international scientific community for work in a prescribed discipline that changes each year. Through The Franklin Institute Awards, which today include the Benjamin Franklin Medals and the Bower Awards, the Institute has honored more than 2,000 luminaries since 1824, representing the greatest minds of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The roster of Franklin Institute Laureates reads like a Who’s Who of science and invention, including the eminent scientific and technological minds such as Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Lord Rayleigh (John William Strutt), Joseph John Thomson, Albert A. Michelson, Max Planck, William H. Bragg, Albert Einstein, Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, Sergei A. Schelkunoff, John Bardeen, Kenneth Bullington, Charles H. Townes, Clarence Melvin Zener, Ali Javan, Theodore H. Maiman, Arthur L. Schawlow, Chandra Kumar Naranbhai Patel, Emmett N. Leith, Zhores I. Alferov, Nikolai Nikolaevich Bogoliubov, Erich Peter Ippen, Paul C. Lauterbur, Roy J. Glauber, Serge Haroche, Sir Martin Rees, Ralph Cicerone, Antoine Labeyrie, Paul Baran, Irwin Mark Jacobs, Elizabeth Blackburn, Andrew J. Viterbi, Narain G. Hingorani, Robert H. Dennard, Lotfi A. Zadeh, and Dean Kamen.
The topic for the 2013 Bower Award for Achievement in Science is “Photonic Source Technologies” and was awarded to Dr. Kenichi Iga, Emeritus Professor and Past President of Tokyo Institute of Technology. A mini-symposium has been organized on the topic of "Optical Source technology: Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers" at Drexel University on April 24, 2013.