National Academies news: Communication Awards winners announced

September 16, 2004

WASHINGTON -- The National Academies today announced the recipients of its 2004 National Academies Communication Awards. Part of the National Academies Keck FUTURES INITIATIVE, these prestigious awards recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public. This is the second year the National Academies have given the three $20,000 prizes. The winners will be honored during a ceremony on Nov. 19, 2004, at the Academies' Beckman Center in Irvine, Calif.

Selected from 143 print, radio, and television entries, the recipients of the awards for works published in 2003 are:

MATT RIDLEY, author of "THE AGILE GENE: HOW NATURE TURNS ON NURTURE" (HarperCollins), for his insightful synthesis of the issues surrounding the debate over the influence nature and nurture have on individuals. (Originally published in 2003 as "NATURE VIA NURTURE.")

ROBERT LEE HOTZ, reporter, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, for his compelling reporting on the space shuttle Columbia accident and his brilliant narrative "Butterfly on a Bullet."

SUE NORTON AND DAVID CLARK, producers of THE SCIENCE CHANNEL'S (Discovery Communications Inc.) "Science of the Deep: Mid-Water Mysteries," for presenting stunning imagery and showing the importance of engineering in scientific exploration.

"It is an honor to recognize not only the achievements of these individuals, but also the vital role they play in increasing the public's understanding of science, engineering, and medicine," said Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences. "We are delighted to commend these outstanding contributions, and we hope that these awards inspire many others to report clearly and creatively about the world we live in."

A list of finalists for the awards follows:

Marcus du Sautoy, author of "THE MUSIC OF THE PRIMES" (HarperCollins)
Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson, authors of "NAPOLEON'S BUTTONS: HOW 17 MOLECULES CHANGED HISTORY" (Penguin)
Sherwin Nuland, author of "THE DOCTORS' PLAGUE" (Norton)

Geeta Anand, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, "Clinical Trials"
Jon Cohen, SCIENCE MAGAZINE, "Special Report: HIV/AIDS in Asia, The Next Frontier"
Jeff Wheelwright, author and freelance writer, "Bursting the Genome Bubble" for the LOS ANGELES TIMES; "Testing Your Future" and "Squid Sensitivity" for DISCOVER MAGAZINE; and Sea Searchers for SMITHSONIAN

Paula Apsell and Joseph McMaster, NOVA, "The Elegant Universe"
Richard Knox, National Public Radio, "SARS and Its Implications"
Patrick Regan, New Jersey Public Television, "Science and Technology Report"
Howard Swartz and Mark Marabella, The Discovery Channel, "Coming Home From Space: The Challenge of Re-entry"

The National Academies Keck FUTURES INITIATIVE was created to encourage interdisciplinary research and is funded by a 15-year, $40 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation. The initiative also sponsors conferences to bring together outstanding researchers from many fields to pose new questions and share ideas for cross-disciplinary projects.

The award recipients will be honored during the FUTURES INITIATIVE conference on "Designing Nanostructures." Leading scientists, engineers, and medical researchers that specialize in nanoscience have been selected to attend the conference and compete for grants for interdisciplinary research projects. In addition, the Academies will release a new report on ways to encourage interdisciplinary research.

A panel of nine judges selected the winners of the communication awards: Nominations for the 2005 Communication Awards will be accepted starting Feb. 1, 2005, for work published or broadcast in 2004. For more information on the FUTURES INITIATIVE and the communication awards, please visit

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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