A year after its release, Marcia Bartusiak’s (‘95) recent collection of essays “Dispatches from Planet 3” is still reaping new plaudits. In October, the anthology was named a co-winner in the books category of the American Institute of Physics’ Science Communication Awards. Bartusiak will share the award with David Hu, who was recognized for “How to Walk on Water and Climb Up Walls.”
Judges called Bartusiak’s book “well-written and accessible,” and the Institute applauded her for bringing to light stories of unsung female scientists, including Vera Rubin, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Henrietta Leavitt, and Jane Luu. The award is Bartusiak’s second AIP prize; in 2006, she won the Institute’s Andrew Gemant Award, in recognition of her body of work covering physics and astronomy.
Although Bartusiak retired from the faculty of MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing this year, her deft, insightful coverage of physics hasn’t missed a beat: In September, she reviewed “Going Supernova,” a new biography of the mad astronomer Fritz Zwicky, for the Wall Street Journal.
In other awards news, (‘14) won the National Press Club’s 2019 Michael A. Dornheim Award for his investigative reporting on the aerospace industry. The judges called his work “exemplary and superbly documented and researched.” Harris was recognized along with other National Press Club award recipients at an awards dinner at the Club in August.
Wayt Gibbs (‘00) is taking the helm of one of the science writing community’s most venerable programs. As the new Program Director for the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, Gibbs will direct New Horizons in Science, a series of science briefings that have been held annually for 57 years and running. The briefings are now held in conjunction with the annual ScienceWriters conference.
In the meanwhile, Gibbs continues to produce top-flight journalism: He contributed two articles to the latest issue of Anthropocene magazine (“A View from Everywhere All the Time” and “Bottling Sunshine without Batteries”) and edited a third piece by David Quammen.
Here’s what other alumni are writing, a compendium from Federico Kukso (‘16):
Monika Weiner (‘92): “Neutrinos: Ice-Cold Detective Work,” Faszination Forschung.
Suan Phillips (‘14): “Refinery Explosions Raise New Warnings About Deadly Chemical,” NPR.
Rod McCullom (‘16): “How Bullying May Shape Adolescent Brains,” Undark.
Teresa Carr (‘18): “For Gun Locks and Safes, Lax Oversight and Lousy Design,” Undark.
Meera Subramanian (‘17): “India’s Terrifying Water Crisis,” The New York Times.
Federico Kukso (‘16): “How to travel to Mars without getting out of bed,” Agencia Sinc (in Spanish).
Federico Kukso (‘16): “Invisible Science: Why Are Latin American Science Stories Absent in European and U.S. Media Outlets?” The Open Notebook.
Cynthia Graber (‘13): “The Yogurt Industry Has Been Using CRISPR for a Decade,” The Atlantic.
Daniela Hirschfeld (‘10): “Why an international award is named after a Uruguayan scientist,” El Observador (in Spanish).
Zack Colman (‘16): “A new strategy on climate: Try to outlast Trump,” Politico.
Giovana Girardi (‘15): “Photos tell the story of the destruction of the Amazon, from deforestation to burning,” Estadão (in Portuguese).
Debbie Ponchner (‘04): “Panama Risks Becoming a Broken Link in an Intercontinental Wildlife Route,” Scientific American.
Amanda Gefter (‘13): “How to Understand the Universe When You’re Stuck Inside of It,” Quanta magazine.
Ángela Posada-Swafford (‘01): “The heater manufacturer that changed the history of aviation,” El Tiempo (in Spanish).
Eli Kintisch (‘12): “Arctic researchers prepare to go with the floes,” Science.
Valeria Román (‘05): “Asperger, the condition of environmental activist Greta Thunberg that gives her a ‘superpower’,” Infobae (in Spanish).
Dan Falk (‘12): “How Copernicus moved the Sun,” Astronomy.
Konstantin Kakaes (‘10): “Quantum supremacy from Google? Not so fast, says IBM.” MIT Technology Review.
Sascha Karberg (‘09): “New book about the color blue,” Der Tagesspiegel (in German).
Teresa Firmino (‘09): “Physicist Pedro Vieira is one of the Breakthrough Award winners,” Publico (in Portuguese).