2017 Television: In-Depth/Feature Reporting - Gold

Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg described the career and impact of Marian Diamond, a neuroscientist whose pathbreaking studies with rats in the 1960s transformed the previous understanding of the brain as an immutable, fixed structure. She found anatomical changes in the rat brains that were due to environmental factors, opening the door to an understanding of the brain’s plasticity. Her results were resisted initially, with one male scientist loudly telling her after a talk: “Young lady, that brain cannot change.” Diamond persisted, following her curiosity where it led. She did the first scientific analysis of the most famous brain of all time, Albert Einstein’s, seeking confirmation of her hypothesis regarding the importance of glial cells in the brain. Diamond, who died on July 25, 2017 at the age 90, was a gifted teacher whose “Introduction to Human Anatomy” lecture series, posted on YouTube by the University of California, Berkeley, helped launch the internet-education revolution. She taught well into her 80s, and for decades brought a preserved human brain to her anatomy classes in a flowered hat box. “I love this film,” said Larry Engel, a filmmaker and associate professor of communication at American University. “A great character, great pacing, engaging all the way through.” Ryan and Weimberg said the award “validates that the stories of women in science are important to tell, not as some special favor to women, but because their stories are an impressive pillar within the mainstream of science, and as such, need to be told.”