Recently announced, a 2013 Benjamin Franklin Medal for William Labov of the University of Pennsylvania. The citation:
For establishing the cognitive basis of language variation and change through rigorous analysis of linguistic data, and for the study of non-standard dialects with significant social and cultural implications.
On the awards, from the Institute's website:
Founded in 1824, along with the The Franklin Institute, The Franklin Institute's Awards Program has long been recognized as the oldest, and most comprehensive science and technology honor bestowed in the country and around the world. At the time, Philadelphia was the nation's largest city and a noted center of innovation and manufacturing. While The Franklin Institute was initially established to train artisans and mechanics in the fundamentals of science, it soon began arranging a series of regular exhibitions of manufactured goods, along with the presentation of awards to recognize excellence in those areas.
In 1874 the all-volunteer Franklin Institute Committee on Science and the Arts began selecting Franklin Institute Award recipients. The Committee continues its work to this day, recognizing the fields of chemistry, computer and cognitive sciences, earth and environmental science, engineering, life science and physics through the Benjamin Franklin Medals.
The list of Franklin Institute Awards Laureates is a roster of science and technology's most important and influential names over the last two centuries, men and women who have deepened human knowledge at both the basic and the applied levels. This list includes Albert Einstein, Rudolph Diesel, Marie and Pierre Curie, Thomas Edison, Jane Goodall, Orville Wright, Stephen Hawking, and Jacques Cousteau, just to name a few.
(The list of categories has changed over the years. Unsurprisingly, the category Computer and Cognitive Sciences is relatively recent. Awardees include Noam Chomsky in 1999, Marvin Minsky in 2001, John McCarthy in 2003, and Donald Norman in 2006.)
On the Franklin Institute, from Wikipedia:
The Franklin Institute (named after the noted American scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin) is a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States, dating to 1824.
More details on the Institute's website.
(Also on the 2013 roster, in Chemistry, is Jerrold Meinwald of Cornell. Citation:
For his pioneering work leading to the establishment of the field of chemical ecology. His fundamental studies of how chemicals act as repellents and attractants between organisms pave the way for the use of these chemicals in a variety of biomedical, agricultural, forestry and household applications.
A little more on Meinwald and his collaboration with the late Thomas Eisner on chemical communication, especially in insects, here.)