Every year, a few science writers are chosen for special recognition by the National Academies, which take in the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. With support from the W.M. Keck Foundation, the National Academies Communication Awards "recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering and medicine to the general public."
This year, I'm honored to be the first-ever recipient of the award in the online/Internet category, for the little ol' Weblog you're reading right now. I'm grateful to be chosen, and I'm humbled when I look at the list of other honorees:
- Book award recipient: Walter Isaacson for "Einstein: His Life and Universe," a comprehensive, scholarly and ambitious look at the life and mind of the 20th century's pre-eminent scientific figure. (Check the Cosmic Log archives.)
- Newspaper/magazine award recipients: Bob Marshall, Mark Schleifstein, Dan Swenson and Ted Jackson for "Last Chance: The Fight to Save a Disappearing Coast," a series appearing in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. The academies said the series combined "superb storytelling with the latest science in its call to action to save Louisiana's wetlands." (Here's some background from the Cosmic Log archives.)
- TV/radio/film award recipients: Director George Butler, White Mountain Films, Kennedy-Marshall Films and Walt Disney Company for "Roving Mars," a large-screen film that chronicles the science and engineering behind the Mars rovers. The film was made with the cooperation of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was presented as a public service by Lockheed Martin. (Check the Cosmic Log archives.)
- Online/Internet finalists: Vikki Valentine, Alison Richards and David Malakoff for NPR's "Climate Connections." This series also earned honorable mention in this year's Science in Society Journalism Awards, given by the National Association of Science Writers. (Check the Cosmic Log archives.)
- TV/radio/film finalists: Joseph McMaster (writer, producer and director), Gary Johnstone (producer, director), Richard Hutton (executive producer) and Paula Apsell (senior executive producer) for WGBH/Nova and Vulcan Productions' "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial." (Check the Cosmic Log archives.)
Honorees were selected from more than 200 entries from the past year. The $20,000 awards will be presented during a Nov. 13 ceremony in Irvine, Calif., during the "Futures" conference conducted annually by the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative. I'll be saying plenty of thank-yous there, but I also want to take this opportunity to express gratitude to the judges, to the organizations involved in this program ... and, of course, to you and the other Cosmic Log correspondents who make this many-to-many dialogue possible on a daily basis.