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Science's Richard Kerr Wins Planetary Science Journalism Award


Science journalist Richard Kerr. [AAAS]

Richard Kerr, long-time reporter for Science, has received an award from the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) recognizing his broad coverage of planetary science research, including a 2012 article on gravity studies of the moon.

The Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award for excellent popular writing on planetary sciences is honoring Kerr for his 7 December 2012 Science article "Peering Inside the Moon to Read Its Earliest History." An announcement from the DPS called the story “a testament to his unflagging effort to promote planetary sciences.”

Kerr will accept the award, which includes a $1,000 prize, at the DPS annual meeting in Denver October 2013.

"Covering planetary science has been a high point of my job. It's always new to the human experience and therefore a thrill to report,” said Kerr. “From the Voyager spacecraft whizzing by the outer planets to Curiosity roving in search of traces of life, you can count on a good story told by always-helpful scientists."

Kerr has covered Earth and planetary sciences for Science since 1977. After graduating from the College of Wooster in Ohio with a degree in chemistry and serving three years with the Navy during the Vietnam War, he earned a Ph.D. in oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Kerr started his job as a geophysics reporter at Science shortly after defending his dissertation.

Over the last 36 years, Kerr has written almost 2,000 science-news stories on a wide range for topics including earth and planetary sciences and paleontology. In 1987 he co-authored Rings: Discoveries from Galileo to Voyager, a detailed account of discoveries of planetary rings around Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus.

Kerr has received several other awards for his writing including the Geological Society of America Public Service Award (2006), the National Association of Geology Teachers James Shea Award (1994), the American Geophysical Union Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism (1993), and the American Meteorological Society Special Award (1990).

The Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award was created by the Division for Planetary Sciences after the late distinguished journalist of Science News magazine and friend of planetary sciences, Jonathan Eberhart, to recognize and stimulate distinguished popular writing on planetary sciences.

Learn more about the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences.

Listen to Richard Kerr discussing his award-winning story on the GRAIL Mission, in a Science podcast.