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Hawking Bestows Science Communications Awards

June 23, 2016

Forgive me for being a week late on reporting that the inaugural winners of the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication were chosen and announced by Hawking himself.

An article in The Guardian highlighted the announcements. The winners -- who have made outstanding contributions in the articulation and portrayal of science to the public within the three categories of science, art, and film -- were composer Hans Zimmer, physicist Jim Al-Khalili and theoretical particle physicist David E. Kaplan.

Earning the science award for his role in documentaries such as The Secrets of Quantum Physics, broadcaster and physicist Al-Khalili said “This a vindication that practicing research scientists can also be accepted and acknowledged as successful communicators.

“Like Stephen, I feel strongly that it is both a duty and privilege to share my wonder about the workings of the Universe and our place in it with as wide an audience as possible.”

The score for the science-fiction movie Interstellar, a film lauded by Hawking for its credible physics, won composer Zimmer the arts medal, while Particle Fever, a documentary about the Large Hadron Collider and the hunt for the Higgs Boson, received the film award.

I wonder if they considered the TV show “The Big Bang Theory” for an award. After all, that’s how I know about the Large Hadron Collider and Higgs Boson. Maybe next year. For now, congratulations to the winners – you make science fun and accessible.

Read The Guardian article.

Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing’s senior digital editor. Her list of must-see movies now includes Interstellar and Particle Fever. You can email her at [email protected]

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