Solar Physics Division Popular Writing Awards

The Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society solicits nominations for the Popular Writing Award, which is awarded annually to authors of popular articles about the Sun or the effects of the Sun on the Earth's environment. One award is given for an article written by a scientist; another award is given for an article written by a journalist.

The Popular Writing Award committee will judge articles based on the following criteria: relevance, educational value, accuracy, clarity, and impact. The article must be written in English and published in a North American newspaper, magazine, or popular science journal. Books and digital media are not eligible. Any living scientist or journalist is eligible to receive the award.

The cash amount of each award is $500. Awards will be accompanied by a certificate.

Please send the following information to submit a nomination: the title and author(s) of the article, the name and date of the publication, and the category (scientist or journalist). Self-nominations are welcome.

For more information, see: the relevant section of the SPD bylaws.

Please contact Monica Bobra at mbobra [at] stanford [dot] edu for more information.


Winner of the SPD Popular Writing Award, 2013

  • Timothy Ferris Super Solar Storms, National Geographic, June, 2012

  • (No award for articles by scientists this year)

Previous Winners of the SPD Popular Writing Awards

2012:
  • Ron Cowen, Spots suggest sun's doldrums likely to continue, Science News, March 2011
  • J. Kelly Smith, David L. Smith & William L. Joyner, Solar Radio Astronomy, Sky and Telescope, February 2011
  • Daniel N. Baker & James L. Green, The Perfect Solar Superstorm, Sky and Telescope, February 2011
2011:
  • Alexandra Witze, Beneath that Blazing Facade, Science News, July 2010
  • (No award in the scientist category this year)
2010:
  • Kristina Grifantini, Solar Impact, Sky & Telescope magazine, March 2009
  • Jim Burch and Jim Drake, Reconnecting Magnetic Fields, American Scientist magazine, Sept.-Oct. 2009
2009:
  • 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
2008:
  • Richard Talcott, Earth's Deadly Future, Astronomy, July 2007
  • C. Renée James, Solar Forecast: Storms Ahead, Sky and Telescope, July 2007
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
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
2005:
  • Curt Suplee, Living with a Stormy Star, National Geographic, July 2004
  • Charles Liu, Our Stormy Sun, Natural History, February 2004
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Committee

Current committee members:
    • Monica Bobra (Chair)
    • Angela DesJardins
    • Cooper Downs
    • Kelly Korreck
    • Noé Lugaz

    Former committee members:

    • 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)

    References to Popular Articles on Solar Physics:

    Year of publication: