The Bigelow Award is presented "to those who make significant inquiries into the phenomena of the sea." The award was established in 1960 by the Institution's Board of Trustees in honor of the first Director, biologist Henry Bryant Bigelow, who was also the first recipient. Bigelow served as WHOI Director from 1930 to 1940, as President of the Corporation from 1940 to 1950, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1950 to 1960. The award, a medal and cash prize, is given to individuals in any field of oceanography without limitation as to age or nationality and is presented for an outstanding contribution to oceanography rather than a cumulative record of achievement. Nominations for the award were received from prominent scientists around the world.