AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science
formerly “AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology”
2010 Award Recipient
J. John Cohen
J. John Cohen
J. John Cohen is honored for his innovative and interactive education models that have served to demystify and effectively communicate the medical sciences throughout the Denver, Colorado area and the world.
The AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology, established in 1987, recognizes working scientists and engineers who make outstanding contributions to the “popularization of science.” Recipients receive $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.
While best known scientifically for his pioneering work in apoptosis, Dr. J. John Cohen is also a pillar of scientific education. By combining the mind and creativity of an experienced researcher with the skill of a master teacher, he has dedicated much of his career developing ways to share the excitement and importance of science with the public in a comprehensible and engaging manner.
In 1989, Dr. Cohen founded the CU Mini-Med School, a community outreach effort that explains medicine in common language to empower people to engage in effective dialogue with their health care providers. This free series of talks on the basic science that underlies medical practice has educated tens of thousands in Colorado and has inspired similar programs all over the world.
Dr. Cohen is also credited with organizing Denver Café Scientifique, a forum for interactive community education, which serves as a model for other such groups around Colorado and the country. The Denver Café Scientifique brings together scientists and the public in an interactive format where scientists share an overview of their cutting edge work.
He is Professor of Immunology and Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where he has served since 1972. Students at UC have awarded him the Excellence in Teaching Award every year since 1982 for his impeccable ability to engage the minds of students who do not possess science degrees. In 2001 he was awarded the Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award, a national recognition of exceptional teachers in Schools of Medicine. In addition to Dean’s, Chancellor’s, and President’s teaching awards, he was made a President’s Teaching Scholar, the University’s highest teaching recognition, in 1992.
Dr. Cohen earned a B.S. in Biochemistry, an M.S. in Endocrinology, and a Ph.D. in Immunochemistry as well as an M.D., C.M. degree from McGill University in Montreal, his home town. Dr. Cohen is also an AAAS Fellow.