The George C. Williams Prize

George C. Williams

The International Society for Evolution, Medicine and Public Health is proud to announce the launch of the George C. Williams Prize. The $5,000 Prize will be awarded to the first author of the most significant article published in 2017 in the Society’s flagship journal, Evolution, Medicine and Public Health. Oxford University Press publishes the journal open access. Stephen Stearns is the editor. All articles published in 2017 will be automatically considered for the Prize.

The Prize recognizes the contributions of George C Williams to evolutionary medicine, and aims to encourage and highlight important research in this growing field. In a seminal 1957 paper, Williams initiated work on several problems central to medicine, including an evolutionary theory of aging and life history traits including menopause. He did important work on the problem of why sex exists. Perhaps his most lasting contribution is his 1966 book Adaptation and Natural Selection, a critique of group selection that transformed how biologists think about the evolution of sociality. In the 1990’s he collaborated with Randolph Nesse on a series of papers and a book that inspired much ongoing work on how evolutionary biology can help us understand disease and improve human health.

The Society’s Publications Committee, chaired by Andrew Read, will appoint the Prize Committee. The Prize Committee will interpret the criterion of “most significant article” with attention to the focus on major unanswered questions that characterized the work of George Williams. Articles by members of the Prize Committee and their students and close colleagues are not eligible for the prize. Members of the Publications Committee and their students and close colleagues are eligible with special restrictions.

To submit an article see


The 2017 Prize Committee:

  • Robert Gatenby (Chair), H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
  • Rick Bribiscas, Yale University
  • Steven Austad, University of Alabama at Birmingham