To recognize scientists, journalists, and public servants for significant contributions to science and to the public’s understanding of science, the Association administers the awards listed below. All awards are presented at the AAAS Annual Meeting immediately following the award year.
2013 Award for Public Engagement with Science Recipient
AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science
formerly “AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology”
2013 Award Recipient
Dr. Steven Strogatz is being honored for his exceptional commitment to and passion for conveying the beauty and importance of mathematics to the general public. As the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University, he is a renowned teacher and one of the world’s most highly cited mathematicians.
In an article for the Harvard Business Review, entitled “The best New York Times business columnist you’ve never heard of,” Michael Schrage wrote, “There is no better English-language explicator of complex quantitative concepts than Steven Strogatz. His work is a model for how mathematics needs to be popularized.”
That article appeared as Dr. Strogatz was writing a 15-part series of weekly essays about the elements of mathematics for The New York Times, which sought to communicate the elegance and usefulness of mathematics, while keeping in mind that some readers might be wary or even fearful of the subject. For decades, Dr. Strogatz has taken on the challenge of communicating mathematics head-on, recognizing that the field can invoke much consternation among many members of the general public.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Strogatz has had a truly exceptional record of public outreach and accomplishments in communicating mathematics and its scientific applications. He has written a popular textbook and provided a TED talk. He has also been interviewed frequently by National Public Radio reporters—four times for the “Science Friday” program, and 12 times for “RadioLab,” over a five-year period. He frequently writes news articles spanning a range of media outlets, and he has written three popular books for the general public, one of which, The Joy of x (2012) grew out of essays written for The New York Times. His second New York Times series, “Me, Myself and Math,” appeared in the fall of 2012.
Dr. Strogatz has also filmed a series of 24 lectures on Chaos for the Teaching Company’s Great Courses series. Unlike a conventional mathematics course, with its emphasis on formulas and proofs, this course was aimed at the general public, particularly The Teaching Company’s core audience of senior citizens and lifelong learners. In addition to his effort to serve senior citizens, Dr. Strogatz has worked in support of underrepresented groups in the mathematical sciences, both for women and people of color.
The AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science, formerly the Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology, was established in 1987 and recognizes working scientists and engineers who make outstanding contributions to the “popularization of science.” Recipients receive $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.
Please click here for a list of past recipients.