Krauss wins AAAS award for public understanding of science

December 13, 1999

Lawrence Krauss, the chair and Ambrose Swasey Professor Physics, will receive the 1999-2000 Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Krauss recently learned of the award by checking e-mail on his laptop computer in England's Gatwick Airport, while returning from a speaking engagement to launch Science Week in Ireland.

He quickly sent a wildly enthusiastic transatlantic e-mail message responding to the news. Riding home between two fussy babies for eight hours, Krauss said he smiled all the way.

The CWRU astrophysicist will officially receive the award February 19 during the AAAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

AAAS established the award for public understanding of science and technology in 1987. It honors those who improve communication between the scientific community and the public.

According to the AAAS, "In today's world, better awareness, education, and understanding of science and technology and their accomplishments, are essential for wise decision-making at the personal as well as the political level."

AAAS, which publishes "Science," is the world's largest interdisciplinary science organization with 138,000 members.

Krauss is the author of five books, including best-sellers "The Physics of Star Trek" and "Beyond Star Trek."

His quest is to remove the nonsense and non-science from the public science debate. In early October, he made public appearances in Kansas in an effort to counter the creationism movement in the state's public school system. He said he believes it is important for scientists to talk to the public about these issues.

Supporting Krauss' nomination were 1979 Nobel Laureate Sheldon Glashow, the Higgins Professor of Physics at Harvard University, and Michael S. Turner, the Rauner Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago.

"Lawrence Krauss has become a much-needed successor to Carl Sagan. He is an inspiration to our scientifically-inclined youth, a gifted advocate of scientific literacy for all citizens, a demystifier of science, and its staunch defender as a force for good," said Glashow.

"He has been and continues to be an endearingly effective popularizer of science, both as a dramatic public speaker and a best-selling author of science-related trade books," he added.

Turner said Krauss is an "expert pioneer of the study of the early universe and of the intersection of astrophysics with elementary particle physics," adding he also is "an eloquent spokesman for science" through his books, articles, essays, and popular lectures.

"His most successful book, "The Physics of Star Trek," used the most popular science-based TV series to introduce and to explain the fundamental concepts of modern physics," Turner added.

Krauss is the author of "The Fifth Essence," "The Search for Dark Matter in the Universe," "Fear of Physics," "The Physics of Star Trek," and "Beyond Star Trek."

"Fear of Physics" is printed in eight languages and was the 1994 finalist for the American Physical Society's Science Writing Award.

"The Physics of Star Trek," published by Basic Books in 1995 and reprinted in 13 languages, was a book choice for five book clubs.

He has a book under way called "Genesis: The Lives of an Atom," which will be a companion book to a five-part PBS series.

Since 1996, Krauss has given more than 300 lectures and media interviews. He is a regular contributor to the op-ed pages of the "New York Times," including one article he faxed at 3 a.m. following NBC's broadcast of "Confirmation: The Hard Evidence of Aliens Among Us" earlier this year.

Past winners of the AAAS award are Christopher Wills (1998), University of California at San Diego; Barry Peterson (1997), University of Texas Health Center; Alan Friedman (1996), New York Hall of Science; Carl Sagan (1995), Cornell University; Edward O. Wilson (1994), Harvard University; the Science Theater from Michigan State University (1993), and Farouk El-Baz (1992), Center for Remote Sensing.

Case Western Reserve University

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