Solar Physics Division Popular Writing AwardsThe Solar Physics Division (SPD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) holds an annual competition for two Popular Writing Awards to be awarded to authors of popular or semi-popular articles on the Sun or its effects on the Earth's environment. The purpose of these awards is to encourage scientists, science writers, and journalists to write about the Sun and thereby educate and excite the public about solar research.
Awards will be made in two categories, one for scientists (students, professionals, and retired) and another for science writers and journalists. One award will be offered in each category. Any living scientist, science writer, or journalist, not currently serving on the panel, is eligible to receive the award without consideration of race, sex, or nationality (SPD or AAS membership not required).
Awards will be made for articles which are published the previous calendar year and which, in the judgement of the selection committee, best communicate the results from contemporary scientific studies of the Sun and heliosphere. The articles will be judged based on the following criteria: relevance of the article to solar astronomy or solar physics, or space physics directly associated with the Sun; educational value; accuracy in describing the scientific issues involved; clarity of presentation; and number of readers who would likely have seen the article. The article must be in English, and must have been published in a North American newspaper, magazine, or popular science journal. Books, book chapters, and electronic publications are not eligible.
The cash amount of each award is $500. Awards will be accompanied by a certificate. In the case of a winning article with multiple authors, each author will receive a certificate, but a check for $500 will be issued only to the lead author.
The articles will be judged by the SPD Popular Writing Awards committee, which consists of four solar scientists and a fifth member from outside the science community. Nominations for the awards may be submitted to the address below; self-nominations are most welcome. Nominations should give the title of the article, the name(s) and address(es) of the author(s), where and when the article was published, the category for which the article is nominated (scientist or science writer/journalist), and in case of a newspaper article, a copy of the article. The committee reserves the right to nominate articles itself. The decisions of the committee are final.
The awards were incorporated in the SPD bylaws in December 1998.
Send nominations for the Popular Writing Awards by 2013 April 15 to:
nlugaz (at) unh (dot) edu .
Winners of the SPD Popular Writing Awards, 2010
- Kristina Grifantini, Solar Impact, Sky & Telescope, March 2009, pp. 30 - 35
- Citation: Ms. Grifantini carefully and thoroughly summarized the scientific understanding of how the Sun influences the Earth's climate, with reader-friendly writing, illustrations, and pictures.
- Jim Burch and Jim Drake, Reconnecting Magnetic Fields, American Scientist, Sept. - Oct. 2009, pp. 392 - 399
- Citation: Magnetic reconnection appears to be a ubiquitous process in solar, heliospheric, and magnetospheric plasmas, but many of the complex processes involved in reconnection remain poorly understood. Using clear prose geared to non-experts, Drs. Burch and Drake reviewed the history and theory of the topic, results from fusion research and other experiments, and open problems in the field.
Previous Winners of the SPD Popular Writing Awards2009:
- Joe Rao, Shades of Glory, Natural History Magazine, October 2008
- Sten Odenwald and James Green, Bracing the Satellite Infrastructure for a Solar Superstorm, Scientific American, July 2008
- Richard Talcott, Earth's Deadly Future, Astronomy, July 2007
- C. Renée James, Solar Forecast: Storms Ahead, Sky and Telescope, July 2007
- Francis Reddy and Roen Kelly, The Sun's Biggest Blasts, Astronomy, December 2006
- Gordon Holman, The Mysterious Origins of Solar Flares, Scientific American, April 2006
- Gerry Byrne, Cycle of the Sun, Astronomy, June 2005
- Tony James Hoffman and Brian G. Marsden, The Booming Science of Sungrazing Comets, Sky and Telescope, August 2005
- Curt Suplee, Living with a Stormy Star, National Geographic, July 2004
- Charles Liu, Our Stormy Sun, Natural History, February 2004
- Joseph B. Verrengia (Associated Press), Watch out: Here comes the Sun, The Salt Lake Tribune, Nov 16, 2003
- Bhola N. Dwivedi and Kenneth J. H. Phillips, Paradox of the Sun's Hot Corona, Scientific American special edition "New Light on the Solar System," October 2003
- Mark Garlick, The Fate of the Sun, Sky & Telescope, October 2002
- E.C. Krupp (Griffith Obs.), Shelter from the Storm, Sky & Telescope, October 2002
- Ron Cowen, Stormy Weather, Science News, vol. 159, 13 January 2001, pp. 26-28; and Sid Perkins, Pinning Down the Sun-Climate Connection, Science News, vol. 159, 20 January 2001, pp. 45-47
- Carolus J. Schrijver & Alan M. Title (Lockheed-Martin), Today's Science of the Sun, Part 1 in Sky & Telescope, February 2001; Part 2 in March 2001
- Curtis B. Suplee, Sun Studies May Shed Light on Global Warming , The Washinton Post, October 9, 2000
- Paul M. Bellan (Caltech), Simulating Solar Prominences in the Laboratory , American Scientist, March, 2000
- Peter Weiss, The Sun Also Writhes , Science News, March 27, 1999
- Sten Odenwald (Raytheon ITSS, NASA/GSFC), Solar Storms , The Washington Post, March 10, 1999
- Kurt Loft, Solar Sentry, The Tampa Tribune, September 7, 1998
- Adam Frank (Univ. of Rochester), Blowin' in the Solar Wind, ASTRONOMY magazine, October, 1998
- Dick Thompson, Eyes on the Storm-Tossed Sun, TIME magazine, September 8, 1997
- Bradley E. Schaefer (Yale Univ.), Sunspots that Changed the World, Sky & Telescope, April 1997
- J. Madeleine Nash, Cosmic Storms Coming, TIME magazine, September 9, 1996
- Kenneth R. Lang (Tufts Univ.), Unsolved Mysteries of the Sun - Part I, Sky & Telescope, August 1996
SPD Popular Writing Awards CommitteeCurrent committee members:
- Noé Lugaz (2009 - 2011; Chair, 2011 - 2012)
- Ashley Crouch (2009 - 2012)
- C. Renee James
- Manolis Georgoulis (2009 - 2012)
- Brian T. Welsch (2008 - 2012)
- Mark Linton (2006 - 2007)
- Joan Burkepile (2006 - 2007)
- JIm McTiernan (2007 - 2008)
- Ellen Shortill (2006 - 2007)
- Curt Suplee (2007 - 2008)
- Ron Cowen (2004 - 2005)
- Rachel Howe (2005 - 2006)
- Peter Foukal (2005 - 2006)
- Rich Wolfson (2004 - 2005)
- Jack Zirker (2004 - 2005)
- Julia Saba (2003 - 2004)
- Charles Kankelborg (2003 - 2004)
- Terry Kucera (2002 - 2003)
- Curt Suplee (2002 - 2003)
- David Webb (2002 - 2003)
- Jeff Brosius (1999 - 2002)
- Mark Giampapa (2000 - 2002)
- Leila Belkora (1999 - 2001)
- David Smith (2000 - 2001)
- Aad van Ballegooijen (1997 - 2001)
- Peter Gilman (1999)
- Jeff Kuhn (1997 - 1998)
- Jay Pasachoff (1997 - 1998)
- Joan Schmelz (1997 - 1998)
Former committee members:
References to Popular Articles on Solar Physics:Year of publication: