SPD Popular Media Awards

The Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society solicits nominations for the Popular Media Award, which is awarded annually to authors of popular articles / new media (e.g., interactive media, video) about the Sun or the effects of the Sun on the Earth’s environment. Three awards are made: one to a scientist, one to a journalist, and one to a student.

The Popular Media Award committee will judge articles based on the following criteria: relevance, educational value, accuracy, clarity, and impact. Award candidates are either [1] popular written articles in English and published in a North American newspaper, magazine, popular science journal, or equivalent electronic publication, or [2] works of new media that incorporate substantial audio, visual, or interactive elements into the storytelling. Books are not eligible. Any living author 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, journalist or student). Self-nominations are welcome. Please submit nominations to James Mason [email protected].

Nominated articles/media must have been published in the previous calendar year. Nominations are accepted until April 6 each calendar year.

For more information, see: Rules and Procedures for Media Awards.

Winners of the SPD Popular Media Awards, 2023

The AAS Solar Physics Division (SPD) is proud to announce the winners of the 2023 Popular Media Awards to journalist Jamie Carter and scientists Sarah Gibson, Mark Miesch, Amy Davenport, Damon Burke and Daniel Zietlow.

Journalist: Jamie Carter – For the corpus of work preparing the public for the 2024 eclipse. This included numerous articles on Forbes and space.com throughout 2023.

Scientist: Sarah Gibson, Mark Miesch, Amy Davenport, Damon Burke, Daniel Zietlow – “My Corona” (song and video) 2023-08-03.

Previous Winners of the SPD Popular Media Awards

  • Colin Stuart is awarded for his article “Solar Trouble: How Well Do We Know the Sun?, published in the April 2021 edition of Sky & Telescope Magazine, where he describes the ongoing uncertainties in quantifying solar elemental abundances and the ramifications for understanding the Universe.
  • Mara Johnson-Groh and Joy Ng are jointly recognized for their article and accompanying video entitled “NASA Enters the Solar Atmosphere for the First Time, Bringing New Discoveries,” published on 2021-12-14 on nasa.gov and YouTube, respectively, where they explain the revolutionary discoveries made by Parker Solar Probe as it passed through the coronal Alfvén surface for the first time.

The full press release is available.

  • (no award for a journalist this year)
  • J. Kelly Smith and David L. Smith, Discovering the Radio Sun, Sky & Telescope, October 2014
  • Timothy Ferris, Super Solar Storms, National Geographic, June, 2012
  • (No award for articles by scientists this year)
  • 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
  • Alexandra Witze, Beneath that Blazing Facade, Science News, July 2010
  • (No award in the scientist category this year)
  • Kristina Grifantini, Solar Impact, Sky & Telescope magazine, March 2009
  • Jim Burch and Jim Drake, Reconnecting Magnetic Fields, American Scientist magazine, Sept.–Oct. 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
  • 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 Media Awards Committee

Current committee members:
  • James Mason (Chair)
  • Nishu Karna
  • Erika Palmerio
  • Trae Winter
Former committee members:
  • Cooper Downs, (2012-2022)
  • Angela Des Jardins, (2012-2022)
  • Kelly Korreck, (2012-2020)
  • Monica Bobra, Former Chair (2014–2019)
  • Noé Lugaz, Former Chair (2012–2016)
  • Timothy Ferris (2016)
  • 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: