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.


AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science

formerly “AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology”



The Award

The AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science, established in 1987, recognizes scientists and engineers who make outstanding contributions to the "popularization of science."

The recipient receives a monetary prize of $5,000, a commemorative plaque, complimentary registration, and reimbursement for reasonable travel and hotel expenses to attend the AAAS Annual Meeting to receive the prize.


  • The Award shall be given annually to scientists or engineers who, while working in their fields, have also contributed substantially to the public's engagement with science or technology.
  • Types of activities to be considered include books, magazines, and newspaper articles; broadcasting; lecturing; museum presentation and exhibit design; and other public outreach activities, local, national, and/or international.
  • Nominators are encouraged to identify candidates whose contributions reach broad audiences that include women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and senior citizens.


Eligible individuals include active or retired scientists and engineers from all disciplines, including social and behavioral sciences and biomedical fields, who have contributed substantially to the public's engagement with science or technology. Only materials produced for general audiences, as opposed to professional or trade audiences, will be considered. Employees of the AAAS are not eligible.

Nominees considered “early career,” which is defined as an individual who has been in his/her current field for less than seven years and pre-tenure or job equivalent, including post-doctoral fellows (meaning the nominee is typically within 7 years of receiving Ph.D.) may be eligible for the AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science.

2014 Award Recipient: James Kakalios

James Kakalios is recognized for the unique ways he communicates the ideas and excitement of physics and stimulates the general public to learn more about the science and technology that shape their lives.

View a list of all past recipients.


  • All nominations must be fully completed and submitted on or before midnight, 15 August.
  • Nomination packets must be emailed to All of the submission material must be sent in one complete email and all materials are in PDF form.
  • Nominations may be made by AAAS affiliate organizations, universities, government agencies, media, research organizations, and individuals.
  • Publishers may only offer one nomination for this award.
  • Prior nomination does not exclude a candidate from consideration in subsequent years.
  • The panel of judges will include distinguished scientists, engineers, and science communicators named by AAAS. The decisions of the Panel will be final.
  • During the Award year, AAAS may ask winners to contribute to public engagement with science by speaking to groups of AAAS constituencies, helping to identify people to work with youth and the public, and participating in other AAAS activities related to public communication of science.

Nomination Procedures

You should provide:

  • Name, position, institution, professional address and e-mail, professional phone and fax, home address and home phone number of the candidate;
  • A name, position, institution, and professional address and phone of the nominator;
  • A statement of the action or actions that form the basis for the nomination;
  • The candidate's curriculum vitae;
  • The names of two supporting persons whom AAAS may contact for more information on the candidate and his/her/their contributions;
  • At least one representative sample which illustrates the nominee's contribution. Books, videotapes, brochures, magazine articles, or other materials are appropriate. Since the selection process is completed virtual, sending supporting material in PDF form or including links to the book review, for example, is preferred. Any materials sent via postal mail is unnecessary. If you insist, please send materials to:
    • Dione Rossiter; EHR, AAAS; 1200 New York Ave, NW; Washington, DC 20005
  • All renominations MUST include a cover letter recapitulating the application material, listing additional work since last submission, and explaining why the nominated individual deserves to be reconsidered. 

All materials become the property of AAAS.


Please submit emailed information to:

Dione Rossiter
Phone: 202-326-6645


All materials must be postmarked by 15 August.

For addition comments and questions, please email the Award for Public Engagement with Science award coordinator, Dione Rossiter, at