Wonderfest, the 21-year-old Bay Area Beacon of Science, announced today that environmental scientist Dr. Peter Gleick has won the 2018 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. The prize, funded by Aduro Biotech, is presented specifically to recognize and encourage researchers who “have contributed mightily to the public understanding and appreciation of science.”
Past Sagan Prize winners include UC Berkeley biochemist Jennifer Doudna, Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, and SETI Institute astronomer Jill Tarter. The prize includes a $5000 cash award, and will be formally presented at a by-invitation event in San Francisco on November 9th, Carl Sagan’s birthday.
“Wonderfest was born in 1997, just a few months after the death of researcher and popularizer Carl Sagan,” notes the organization’s founding executive director, Tucker Hiatt. “Wonderfest’s work has been dedicated to Sagan’s memory ever since. Sagan would be proud to know that Peter Gleick, so renowned for his research and his outreach, has received Wonderfest’s Sagan Prize for 2018.”
Wonderfest is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to informal science education and popularization, particularly among adults in the San Francisco Bay Area. Several times every month, Wonderfest produces in-person science events — with accompanying online videos — in an effort to “enlarge the concept of scientific community.” Wonderfest also produces “Science Envoy” workshops to develop the science communication skills of Bay Area Ph.D. students.
Gleick is president emeritus and co-founder of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, California. The Pacific Institute, created in 1987, is a nonprofit research institution dedicated to creating and advancing solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges. Gleick holds a B.S. degree in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley. Among his more than thirty honors and awards are membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (the so-called “Genius” award).
Gleick has co-authored or edited 11 books, more than 70 journal articles, and more than 80 peer-reviewed reports, book chapters, and proceedings. A strong public communicator, he gives dozens of public lectures annually; writes op eds and popular essays on climate, water, and environmental issues for major newspapers, social media outlets, and blogs; and is popular on Twitter for his science and policy commentary. Gleick is regularly called upon by state and federal government agencies for advice on climate change and water resources.
Gleick said, “I’m thrilled to be honored with the Sagan Prize. Carl Sagan’s early efforts to bring science challenges and solutions to the public and policy makers was an inspiration to me, and has encouraged a whole generation of scientists now willing to speak up on the critical challenges of our day.”