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2023 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award Winners Named

A mosaic of headshots of AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award winners

Stories about troubling aspects of science’s past as well as some hopeful signs for its future are among the winners of the 2023 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards.

Presenter Adam Rutherford and producer Ilan Goodman won a Gold Award in the Audio category for a BBC series on the eugenics movement and its continuing repercussions in the modern age. Ashley Smart of Undark magazine won the Gold Award in the Science Reporting In-Depth category for a piece on the lingering impact of scientific racism, including the appropriation of legitimate genetics research for extremist ends.

On a more optimistic note, a NOVA documentary from Terra Mater Studios for PBS won a Gold Award in the Video In-Depth category for tracing the heritage and future of African astronomy through the eyes of a visionary Senegalese astronomer trying to spur the establishment of a space agency in his home country.

The Silver Award in the same category went to the “Wild Hope” series for PBS Nature from HHMI Tangled Bank Studios. The winning entry looked at a variety of habitat restoration and species recovery efforts, emphasizing the resilience of nature when given a chance and the value of hope in the face of unrelenting reports on the potentially devastating impacts of climate change.

The awards, administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), recognize distinguished science reporting for a general audience. The program, endowed by The Kavli Foundation and open to journalists worldwide, drew entries from a record 74 countries this year.

For the first time since the awards program went global in 2015, more than half of the entries – 54 percent – were international. Among the winners this year were entrants from Australia, Austria, Brazil, India, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom.

There is a Gold Award ($5,000) and Silver Award ($3,500) for each of the eight categories. Independent panels of science journalists select the winners, who will receive their awards in a ceremony held in conjunction with the 2024 AAAS Annual Meeting in Denver in February.

Among the winners were two stories on the underappreciated value of parasites. Emily Driscoll and Jeffery DelViscio of Scientific American won the Gold Award in the Video Spot News/Feature category for “Quest to Save the Parasites” and Stephen Ornes won a Silver Award in the Children’s Science News category for his Science News Explores story: “Some ecologists value parasites ― and now want a plan to save them.” This is the third time Ornes has won the AAAS Kavli award.

Kemi Busari, Nigeria editor for an African fact-checkers organization called Dubawa, won the Silver Award for Science Reporting In-Depth, the first AAAS Kavli winner from Nigeria. Busari did a five-month investigation of a Nigerian man who was posing as a doctor and promoting an herbal concoction with unverified claims of curing malaria and other ills. Busari arranged for an independent laboratory to test the concoction against a standard anti-malarial drug. It had no effect and lab animals that received high doses of the herbal mix developed severe liver and kidney damage. Days after Busari’s story was published by Dubawa and the Premium Times, the bogus doctor was arrested and distribution of his product halted.

“The AAAS Kavli award is a recognized measure of excellence in science journalism,” said Sudip Parikh, CEO of AAAS and Executive Publisher of the Science family of journals. “With compelling winners for the first time from Brazil and Nigeria, the global reach of the program is even more firmly established.”

The full list of winners of the 2023 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards follows. For a description of the winning entries, with comments from the judges and the winners, go to


Science Reporting – Large Outlet

Gold Award

Lauren Sommer, Ryan Kellman, Rebecca Hersher, Connie Hanzhang Jin and Daniel Wood
“Beyond the Poles: The far-reaching dangers of melting ice” (series)
“Why Texans need to know how fast Antarctica is melting”
“The surprising connection between Arctic ice and western wildfires”
“The unexpected link between imperiled whales and Greenland's melting ice”
April 19, 2023

Silver Award

Sarah Kaplan, Simon Ducroquet, Bonnie Jo Mount, Frank Hulley-Jones and Emily Wright
The Washington Post
“Hidden beneath the surface”
June 20, 2023


Science Reporting – Small Outlet

Gold Award

Christine Peterson
“Euthanize or release? The quandaries of handling captive animals”
October 8, 2022
“Wolf killing and the consequences of disturbing pack dynamics”
April 6, 2023
“Study: Deer’s lifelong fate is affected by mother’s health at birth”

January 24, 2023

Silver Award

Duda Menegassi
Associação O Eco (Brazil)
“A Shrinking Home: a monkey cornered by deforestation”
December 22, 2022


Science Reporting – In-Depth (More than 5,000 words)

Gold Award

Ashley Smart
“A Field at a Crossroads: Genetics and Racial Mythmaking”
December 12, 2022

Silver Award

Kemi Busari
Dubawa/Premium Times (Nigeria)
“INVESTIGATION: Baba Aisha, Nigeria’s fake ‘doctor’ cashing out on deadly concoction that cures nothing”
June 10, 2023
“NAFDAC confirms arrest of Baba Aisha’s producer after PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation”
June 14, 2023
“Baba Aisha: NAFDAC commences nationwide mop-up of harmful concoction”
June 19, 2023



Gold Award

Lauren Fuge
Cosmos (Australia)
“Point of View”
March 2023

Silver Award

Paul Tullis
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
“Is the Next Pandemic Brewing on the Netherlands’ Poultry Farms?”
September 26, 2022



Spot News/Feature Reporting (20 minutes or less)

Gold Award

Emily Driscoll and Jeffery DelViscio
Scientific American
“Quest to Save the Parasites”
March 13, 2023

Silver Award

Bahar Dutt, Samreen Farooqui, Vijay Bedi, Anmol Chavan and Ajay Bedi
Roundglass Sustain (India)
“Saving the Bhimanama: Ayushi Jain and a Giant Turtle”
April 27, 2023


Video In-Depth Reporting (more than 20 minutes)

Gold Award

Ruth Berry and Christian Stoppacher
A NOVA/GBH production by Terra Mater Studios (Austria) for PBS
“Star Chasers of Senegal”
February 8, 2023

Silver Award

Jared Lipworth, Geoff Luck, Whitney Beer-Kerr and Matt Hill
PBS Nature from HHMI Tangled Bank Studios
“Wild Hope” (series)
“Wild Hope: The Big Oyster”
“Wild Hope: The Beautiful Undammed”
“Wild Hope: Woodpecker Wars”
June 12, 2023



Gold Award

Adam Rutherford and Ilan Goodman
BBC Radio 4/BBC World Service/BBC Sounds Podcast
“Bad Blood: The Story of Eugenics” (series)
“You Will Not Replace Us”
Nov. 28, 2022
“The Curse of Mendel 
Dec. 19, 2022

Dec. 27, 2022

Silver Award

Wendy Zukerman, Rose Rimler, Meryl Horn, Blythe Terrell and Michelle Dang
Science Vs on Spotify
“Superbugs: Apocalypse … Now?”
April 13, 2023


Children’s Science News

Gold Award

Laura Allen
Science News Explores
“For a better brick, just add poop”
January 23, 2023

Silver Award

Stephen Ornes
Science News Explores
“Some ecologists value parasites ― and now want a plan to save them”
September 22, 2022


Earl Lane

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