Jeff Bezos picks up a Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in the technology category. The awards, now in their fifth year, are meant to honor innovative individuals in nine categories: technology, performing arts, visual arts, life and physical sciences, education, history, social progress and youth achievement.
Although The Washington Post has introduced a number of innovative changes and new platforms during Bezos’ tenure as publisher, he is being honored for his space exploration company Blue Origin, which last year became the first to successfully relaunch and land a reusable rocket.
“Blue Origin’s reusable rocket, which has been compared to the shift between the sail to the steam engine, is crucial for the future of space exploration,” read the citation. “It dramatically reduces the cost of spaceflight, and offers an opportunity to advance both space.”
Other winners include Marc Edwards and LeeAnne Walters. The duo won in the social progress category for their work in identifying that there was a serious problem with Flint’s drinking water: “Walters is the concerned Flint mother who first began researching the problems in her own home and reached out to Edwards. He is the Virginia Tech professor who tested the water samples she sent and found toxic levels of lead. Together, their work has uncovered a catastrophic health crisis and inspired a greater awareness of—and action against—lead and chemical issues in water nationwide.”
Aziz Ansari gets the award in the performing arts category for his Netflix show Master of None. Meanwhile, director David Lynch has been working on a transcendental meditation project that earns him the award in the education category.
All the winners will be in Smithsonian Magazine’s December issue.