Ann Gibbons (‘88) was named the winner of the American Geophysical Union’s David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism, for her Science magazine piece “Eruption made 536 ‘the worst year to be alive.’” The prestigious Perlman award is given annually to a science news story published under deadline pressure of one week or less. Judges said that Gibbons story — which chronicles scientists’ discovery of the precise year when massive volcanic eruptions began to plunge parts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East into darkness — was “crisply told, with strong quotes and just the right level of detail.”
Wrote one committee member, “Ann began with a creative approach and executed it superbly.” Gibbons will receive a $5000 prize and will be honored this December at a ceremony at the AGU Fall meeting in San Francisco.
In other award news, Ian Cheney (’15) and Julia Belluz (’14) were both finalists for the National Academies 2019 Communication Awards. Cheney was part of a team from Sandbox Films and VICE Media that was recognized in the Film/Radio/TV category for its documentary “The Most Unknown.” Belluz and her colleagues at Vox were recognized in the Online category for their entry, “The Mysteries of Weight Loss.”
With his debut book, “This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption are Ruining the American West,” Christopher Ketcham (’16) takes readers on a journey across canyons, forests, and other threatened public lands of the western United States. Ketcham spent ten years researching the book, and spoke with ecologists, biologists, botanists, former government employees, whistleblowers, grassroots environmentalists, and other citizens who have been fighting to protect the public domain for future generations.
Published last month by Viking, the book has already received plaudits from such outlets as Kirkus and The LA Times. The Salt Lake City Weekly called it “a striking cry of anguish” that “offers infuriating evidence of a broken system leading to a broken ecosystem.”
Lauren Whaley (‘17) recently started a gig as managing editor of Crosstown LA, a data journalism outfit based at the University of Southern California that delivers community-level data and analysis on crime, air quality and traffic. She’s enjoying working with students from the journalism, engineering, and design schools on this project. And she loves being back in the university setting. (She’s still freelancing as a health journalist and childbirth and family photographer.)
Here’s what other alumni are writing, a compendium from Federico Kukso (‘16):
Sasha Chapman (‘16): “Wasted. Our global food system discards 46 million tonnes of fish each year. Why?” Hakai Magazine.
Debbie Ponchner (‘04): “Panama Risks Becoming A Broken Link in an Intercontinental Wildlife Route,” Scientific American.
Amina Khan (‘19): “Microplastic in the atmosphere is making its way to the Arctic,” LA Times.
Daniela Hirschfeld (‘10): “Increases resistance in bacteria that cause diarrhea in the region,” SciDev.Net (in Spanish).
Mico Tatalovic (‘18): “Strange evolution: The weird future of life on Earth,” BBC Future.
Mico Tatalovic (‘18): “Physics in the former Yugoslavia: From socialist dreams to capitalist realities,” Physics Today.
Federico Kukso (‘16): “How to love a robot,” Agencia Sinc (in Spanish):
Cynthia Graber (‘13): “The Fishy Science of Omega-3s,” The Atlantic.
Herton Escobar (‘07): “Brazilian institute head fired after clashing with nation’s president over deforestation data,” Science.
Konstantin Kakaes (‘10): “NASA announces plans to send a drone to explore Titan for signs of life,” MIT Technology Review.
Sascha Karberg (‘09): “How researchers want to save the banana,” Der Tagesspiegel (in German).
Pablo Correa (‘13): “Jorge Reynolds, the man who did not invent the pacemaker,” El Espectador (in Spanish).
Valeria Román (‘05): “New approach to diagnose and treat Chagas disease,” SciDev.Net (in Spanish).