Hubbard Medal

The Hubbard Medal is awarded by the National Geographic Society for distinction in exploration, discovery, and research. The medal is named for Gardiner Greene Hubbard, first National Geographic Society president.


1906Robert Pearypolar explorerFarthest north travel by a human.
1907Roald Amundsenpolar explorerFirst to transit the Northwest Passage.
1909Robert Bartlettpolar explorer 
1910Sir Ernest Shackletonpolar explorer 
1926Richard E. Byrdpolar explorer/aviatorFirst flight over the North Pole.
1927Charles LindberghaviatorFirst solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean
1931Roy Chapman AndrewsGobi Desert explorer 
1934Anne Morrow LindberghaviatorFor serving as radio operator and copilot to her husband Charles on two flights in 1931 and 1933
1935Captain Orvil Arson Anderson[1] and Captain Albert William Stevensaeronauts[2]Record setting ascent in balloon Explorer II.
1954British Mount Everest ExpeditionmountaineersFirst ascent of Mount Everest.(group award) [3]
1958Paul Allen Siplepolar explorerVeteran of several Antarctic expeditions.
1959Adm. Arleigh Burke
Rear Adm. George J. Dufek
US NavyEstablishing Antarctic science stations.
1962John GlennastronautFirst American to orbit Earth.[4]
1962Louis Leakey and Mary Leakeyanthropologist 
1963Norman Dyhrenfurth and his teammountaineersFirst Americans to climb to the summit of Mount Everest[5]
1969Frank Borman
Jim Lovell
William Anders
astronautsFirst crewed flight to the Moon.[6]
1970Neil Armstrong
Edwin Aldrin
Michael Collins
astronautsFor first crewed landing on the Moon.[7]
1981John Young
Robert Crippen
astronautsAwarded for first Space Shuttle flight.[8]
1994Richard Leakeyanthropologist 
1995Jane Goodallenvironmentalist[9]
1996Robert Ballardunderwater explorerDiscovery of the wreck of the RMS Titanic[10]
1999Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jonesballoonists 
2000Matthew Hensonpolar explorerCompanion to first recipient Robert Peary. Awarded posthumously. (Not awarded at the time because of his race).[11]
2010Don WalshoceanographerBathyscaphe Trieste Dive
2012Jacques PiccardoceanographerFirst Mariana Trench expedition
2013Sylvia Earle
James Cameron
E. O. Wilson
film director/explorer
Marine exploration
Marine exploration
Biological research
2015George Schallerbiologistfor his unwavering commitment to the well-being of the world’s most endangered species[12]
2016Meave Leakey
Nainoa Thompson
2017Neil deGrasse Tysonastrophysicist, author and science communicator[14]
2018Peter H. RavenBiologist and environmentalist[15]


  1. National Geographic Society Hubbard Medal, Captain Orvil Anderson
  2. First High-Altitude Photo Archived 2010-01-18 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Valentine, Vikki. "NPR : Archive: Eisenhower Awards Medal to 1953 Expedition".
  4. "Hubbard Medal for John Glenn". Standard-Speaker. Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. April 10, 1962. p. 16. Retrieved October 15, 2018 via
  5. "John F. Kennedy: Remarks Upon Presenting the Hubbard Medal to the Leader of the American Everest Expedition".
  6. "Hubbard Medal to Borman Crew". Muncie Evening Press. Muncie, Indiana. UPI. April 4, 1969. p. 5 via
  7. "Agnew Gives Medals to Apollo 11 Crew". La Crosse Tribune. La Crosse, Wisconsin. Associated Press. February 18, 1970. p. 6 via
  8. Holland, Dana. "Astronaut John W. Young - Other Awards".
  9. "Explorers-in-Residence: Jane Goodall". Archived from the original on 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
  10. "Robert Ballard, Ocean Explorer". Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
  11. "Stealing the Glory, by Pam Fraser Solomon".
  12. Room, National Geographic Press (10 June 2015). "Virunga National Park Rangers to Accept National Geographic Explorers of the Year Honor – National Geographic Society Press Room".
  13. "Meave Leakey and Nainoa Thompson to Receive Hubbard Medal, National Geographic's Highest Honor". 15 June 2016.
  14. "High Honors". National Geographic. 232 (1): 152. July 2017.
  15. "Hubbard Medal". National Geographic Socity. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
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