The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have awarded top prize for science communication by a “research scientist–later career” to Steven Strogatz, the Susan and Barton Winokur Distinguished Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences. Neil Lewis, Jr., an associate professor of communication in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Weill Cornell Medicine, was also named a winner in the same category.
The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Award for Excellence in Science Communications is given by the National Academies in partnership with Schmidt Futures, and recognizes science journalists, research scientists, and science communicators who have developed creative, original work to communicate issues and advances in science, engineering, and medicine to the public.
Strogatz’s and Lewis’ work was selected for the awards from among 500 entries published or aired in 2023. A total of 24 awards were announced in eight categories, with the top prize winners in each category receiving a prize of $40,000. The winners will be honored during an invitation-only workshop and recognition event on Jan. 11 and 12, 2024, in Washington, D.C.
The award committee cited three of Strogatz’s works in their decision for the top prize: an essay on “How Infinite Series Reveal the Unity of Mathematics,” and a podcast about “Why Is Inflammation a Dangerous Necessity?”, both with Quanta Magazine; and “Infinite Hotel,” an excerpt from the documentary film “A Trip to Infinity,” which aired on Netflix.
Lewis also had three works cited in their decision: a FiveThirtyEight article on “What happens when American children learn about racism?,” a STAT News article on why “Covid-19 is an inverse equity story, not a racial equity success story,” and a Social Science Research Council essay on strategies to improve evidence and relevance in the social sciences.
A regular contributor for FiveThirtyEight and The Atlantic, and co-director of the Cornell Action Research Collaborative, Lewis has long been passionate about sharing scientific findings and their implications for equity in social interventions and policies in society.