Jane Goodall, PBS' NOVA Program, To Receive Public Service Award

March 25, 1998

Citing the "inspirational and dignified" primate studies of Jane Goodall and the "renowned and standard-setting" Public Broadcasting Service's NOVA television series, the National Science Board (NSB) today announced the winners of its first annual Public Service Award for contributions to public understanding of science and engineering.

"There are many awards in the scientific community, but this will be special because the people and institutions to receive this award reach the hearts and minds of everyday Americans by imparting knowledge, understanding and a sense of humanity in their work," Richard Zare, NSB chairman said. The new award for public service will be presented at an annual NSB awards dinner in May at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

"Jane Goodall is a foremost primatologist who has heightened our sensitivities to the dignity of other species and helped us better understand our own place in the world," Zare said. "She serves as an inspiration to all of us who seek to understand nature, and as a role model for young women choosing a career in science."

David Perlman, chairman of the selection committee for this year's award, cited Goodall's "lifetime of work communicating the results of her research to the broadest possible publics," and Goodall's "international network of institutions to encourage the participation of youngsters and adults in the scientific enterprise."

Zare described PBS' NOVA series, now nearing 500 programs, as "a bright beacon lighting our way to understanding science and technology." He said, "NOVA set the standard for giving us insights into how science is done and what drives those who do it."

Perlman added that NOVA "has become an American institution, regularly enthralling its huge PBS audience with clear, accurate and wide-ranging programs exploring virtually every aspect of science." Perlman also praised NOVA's major influence on commercial broadcast and cable channels to present science programs of similar quality.

The NSB Public Service Award was established in November, 1996. Two awards will be presented each May, one to an individual, another to an organization. The award recognizes not only the scientific and engineering contributions of individuals and organizations, but also activities to promote the general public's understanding of the research and concepts that lead the way to discovery. Members of the U.S. Government are not eligible for the award.

"It is so important that Americans increase their awareness of science and technology and appreciate the crucial role fundamental and applied research plays in all our lives, so it is significant that the National Science Board has created this annual award," Perlman said.
Editors: The NSB Public Service Award Selection Committee members are: Sharon Begley, Newsweek; Roald Hoffman, Cornell University; Gregory Moyer, Discovery Communications; J. Dennis O'Connor, Smithsonian Institution; David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle; and Helen Quinn, Stanford University Linear Accelerator Center. Ex officio members: Neal Lane, NSF director; and Richard Zare, National Science Board chairman.

National Science Foundation
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