Award Winners

2007

Children's Science News

"A Whale of a Mystery" - 15 Jan. 2007

Scholastic Science World

 

Chiang told her young readers about an investigation by scientists into the puzzling death of a North Atlantic right whale that was spotted drifting off the coast of Nova Scotia. She described various clues that the researchers followed in trying to determine the cause of death. They eventually concluded that a large, blunt object had hit the whale on one side. Catherine Hughes, a senior editor for National Geographic Kids magazine, said the story met all the criteria. “The mystery is an immediate draw for kids, as is the compelling species, the ever-...Read more

Certificate of Merit

"The Show of the Beautiful Slimers" - 7 Feb. 2007

GEOlino Magazine (Germany)

 

The judging panel recommended a special Certificate of Merit for the runner-up in the children’s news cateogry. Sina Löschke, a writer for GEOlino — a German science magazine for children — wrote an engaging piece about sea slugs. “With lively, imaginative writing and colorful pictures, the story deftly introduces readers to these unusual ocean denizens and cogently explains their biological quirks,” said John Carey of Business Week. Löschke’s piece was published on 7 February 2007.

 ...Read more

2006

Large Newspaper

"Probing a Mind for a Cure" - 26 Feb. 2006

The Philadelphia Inquirer

 

The judges were impressed by Burling’s use of a single case study about the life and death of an Alzheimer's patient to explore the current scientific understanding of the disease and its human impact. Andrew Revkin of The New York Times called Burling’s story “a superb route into a harrowing subject” that illuminates aspects of science “with rare clarity.” Guy Gugliotta, a freelance science writer who was formerly with The Washington Post, said Burling’s story elegantly juxtaposed “the science of the disease with the consequences,...Read more

Small Newspaper

"The Ghosts of Yosemite" - 17 Oct. 2005

"Save Our Snow" - 6 Mar. 2006

"Dust and Snow" - 29 May 2006

High Country News

 

In stories on climate change in the West, Nijhuis described the work of contemporary scientists who are using pioneering field work in Yosemite by biologist Joseph Grinnell nearly a century ago to better understand the changes now occurring in animal populations of the Sierra range; the efforts by Aspen, Colorado and other western towns to grapple with changing climate; and the impact of airborne dust, from drought-stricken grazing lands and other sources, on snow pack in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Peter Spotts of The Christian Science Monitor called her...Read more

Magazine

"Building a Better Banana" - October 2005

Smithsonian Magazine

 

Millions depend on the banana to stay alive. With diseases threatening many banana varieties, scientists are searching for new hybrids. In a lively account, Canine described the research effort and the ingenious methods being used to breed a better banana. “This was such an evocative piece that I had to go home and eat a banana,” said Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press. “This article had everything you look for—depth, detail, significance and science. Truly an enjoyable read.”

Canine said he hopes his story brought "wider attention to the pressing scientific...Read more

Television (1981-2009)

RNA interference - 26 July 2005

" The chemistry of fuel cells"

"Two wizards of supercomputing"

"The fastest moving glacier in the world"

NOVA scienceNOW

 

Geneticists wanted to make an ordinary purple petunia more purple. Instead they got white flowers. Why? Quite by accident, the researchers found a secret defense system in living cells, a gene-silencing mechanism called RNA interference. It has become one of the hottest topics in biology and was the subject of the recently awarded 2006 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology. In addition to the RNAi segment, the NOVA scienceNOW program, presented by Robert Krulwich, also featured a humorous description of the chemistry of fuel cells, complete with electrons attached to the...Read more

Radio

"Living on Earth" Series One- "Some Like it Hot…” - 30 Sept. 2005

"Living on Earth" Series Two- "Cold Fusion: A Heated History” - 30 Sept. 2005

"Living on Earth" Series Three - “Pebble Bed Technology—Nuclear Promise or Peril?” - 30 Sept. 2005

Public Radio International's "Living on Earth" program took a clear-headed look at the ongoing efforts to understand and tame nuclear fusion, a field in which overly optimistic projections have led some critics to joke that fusion is the energy source for the future and always will be. Kathy Sawyer, a freelance science writer formerly with The Washington Post, called the winning program “a well-produced overview that not only informs listeners about the science, but also about the process of learning the science, with all its uncertainties and...Read more

Online

"The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake: 100 Years Later" - 20 Mar. 2006

Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

 

The judges praised the use of Web technology and the overall excellence of the Online NewsHour’s site about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the state of earthquake research. “This very nice package included two interactive graphics, a slide show, and general stories of a length appropriate to the Internet,” said Mary Knudson, a freelance editor and writer who also teaches science writing at Johns Hopkins University. Neil Munro of the National Journal called the site “a very promising example of what the Web can become—easy to read and understand,...Read more

Children's Science News

"Fade to White" - 6 Jan. 2006

Current Science

 

Geiger won praise from the judges for explaining the basics of natural selection and evolution to children in a story about the changing color of lizards in the New Mexico desert. “Kids who don’t really give a flip about the debate over evolution that surrounds their classrooms relate to lizards,” said Jeff Nesmith of Cox Newspapers. Laura Helmuth of Smithsonian magazine said Geiger used “clear, amusing, colorful language” in describing natural selection, speciation and the geology of sand dunes. “The explanation of the process of science was non-...Read more

2005

Large Newspaper

"String Theory, at 20, Explains It All (or Not)" - 7 Dec. 2004

"Remembrance of Things Future: The Mystery of Time" - 28 June 2005

"The Next Einstein? Applicants Welcome" - 1 Mar. 2005

The New York Times

 

The print judging committee was impressed by Overbye’s wit and erudition in walking readers through the arcane world of string theory, the mysteries of time, and the prospects for another Albert Einstein.

“Sometimes the simplest, most basic elements of the universe are the most difficult to understand and explain, and surely time must be one of the top contenders,” said Gino Del Guercio, an independent television producer and former AAAS journalism prize winner who served as a judge. “Overbye writes about it with wit and clarity that makes it all look easy.”...Read more

Small Newspaper

"Women and Science: The Debate Goes On" - 4 Mar. 2005

"The Hidden Cost of Farming Fish" - 22 Apr. 2005

"Come Over to the Dark Side" - 3 June 2005

The Chronicle of Higher Education

 

Monastersky was selected for a series of three unrelated pieces that showed a broad grasp of science, from the politically sensitive debate over how boys and girls learn about math to the risks of fish farms to the search by physicists for an elusive force that shapes the universe and accelerates its expansion.

“Monastersky’s work stands out for its meticulous explanatory reporting of a remarkably broad range of scientific controversies,” said Robert Lee Hotz of the Los Angeles Times.

“I am deeply honored that the judges selected my work for the...Read more

Magazine

"The Climate of Man" - 25 Apr. 2005; 2 May 2005 ; 9 May 2005 - Elizabeth Kolbert

"The Bell Curve" - 6 Dec. 2004 - Atul Gawande

The New Yorker

 

A doctor’s use of science and skill may be the easiet part of patient care, Gawande wrote in his winning piece. But the best outcomes can depend on other, more nebulous factors “like aggressiveness and consistency and ingenuity.”

“Gawande’s article described how doctors respond to the sometimes painful product of good scientific analysis,” said Neil Munro of the National Journal, who served as a judge.

"I think there is an enormous amount to be learned from close, detailed observation of cases,"  said Gawande, who is a practicing surgeon as well...Read more

Television (1981-2009)

"Wave that Shook the World" - 29 Mar. 2005

NOVA-WGBH

 

The judges noted the thoroughness and timely production of the hour-long NOVA program that aired within three months of the 26 December 2004 earthquake and devastating Indian Ocean tsunami that struck Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. “A great combination of science and human drama,” said Warren Leary of The New York Times. “A fine documentary done in a very timely manner.”

“Beyond the specifics of the scientific explanations, the production makes clear why the public needs to know ‘scientific stuff,’” said Kathy Sawyer, a freelancer formerly...Read more

Radio

"Seeking Answers to Dolphin Death Mystery" - 21 Mar. 2005

National Public Radio

 

Nielsen took listeners on a hunt for clues on why 65 dolphins stranded themselves in a mangrove swamp near the town of Marathon in the Florida Keys. Many of the animals died. As marine scientists were cutting up the dolphin carcasses, Nielsen was on the scene, providing his audience a graphic experience in hands-on research as well as an intriguing description of the matriarchal dolphin society that may have triggered the stranding event.

Dan Vergano of USA Today called the segment “a beautifully executed piece, with great use of on-the-scene sounds and very...Read more

Online

"Fantastic Forests: The Balance Between Nature & People of Madagascar" - 3 June 2005

wbur.org

 

The judges were impressed by the lively quality of Grossman’s work, which looks at the struggle to preserve biodiversity in Madagascar, an African island smaller than Texas but home to a prodigious diversity of fauna and flora more varied than that of all of North America. Grossman introduces online visitors to a rich catalogue of critters, including the fossa, a remarkable predator that looks like a cross between a cat and a dog and loves to snack on lemurs, the tree-dwelling primates for which Madagascar is famous.

Diedtra Henderson of the Boston Globe...Read more

Children's Science News

"Mammoth Hunters" - March 2005

Scholastic's SuperScience

 

Elizabeth Carney gave her young readers an inviting description of the field work by scientists who are studying the remains of an ancient mammoth in Siberia. Laura Helmuth of Smithsonian magazine commended Carney’s use of “inviting, non-patronizing language,” including the amusing image that a mammoth weighs more than 230 fourth graders.

Carney, who wrote her story while working as an intern for Scholastic publications after completing a master’s degree in biomedical journalism at New York University, also told her readers that many questions remain unanswered, such...Read more