WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2011 — The American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, has selected nationally renowned science journalist, author, broadcaster and blogger Paul Raeburn as the 2012 recipient of its James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry to the Public.
One of the oldest and most prestigious accolades in journalism, the award dates to 1955 and consists of $3,000, a gold medallion and a bronze replica of the medallion. ACS named the award for James T. Grady and James H. Stack, former managers of the ACS News Service. Publisher of the Weekly PressPac, the News Service was established in 1919, making ACS one of the first scientific societies with a dedicated function of communicating and explaining science to the public.
The award cites Raeburn’s work as science editor and chief science correspondent at the Associated Press from 1981 to 1996, where thousands of his articles were distributed to more than 1,700 newspapers and 6,000 television and radio stations worldwide. Raeburn then spent seven years as science editor and a senior writer at BusinessWeek. His freelance writing has appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Self, Technology Review and numerous other publications.
Raeburn currently is a media critic at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, and he blogs on fathers and families at Psychology Today and at his own Fathers and Families blog. He is a regular panelist and guest host of Talk of the Nation: Science Friday on National Public Radio and the organizer of the annual New Horizons in Science conference, which is held in conjunction with the National Association of Science Writers meeting. Raeburn is the author of three books, including Acquainted with the Night, a memoir of raising children with depression and bipolar disorder. His new book, Why Fathers Matter, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2013. He is a past president of the National Association of Science Writers and a recipient of its Science in Society award, in addition to many other prizes.
Most recently, Raeburn has developed a proposal for a new graduate program in science, medical and environmental journalism at Florida Atlantic University. The program, unlike many others, will include intensive training in audio and video, as well as print. The centerpiece of the program will be a public news website, where students will publish and promote their work. Raeburn hopes to begin recruiting students in the spring of 2012 for an 11-month course of study starting mid-summer 2012.
The Grady-Stack award will be presented during a black-tie banquet and ceremony next March at the ACS’ 243rd National Meeting & Exhibition in San Diego. Nominations are open for ACS’ 2013 National Awards. An ACS video series, Prized Science, celebrates how the scientific discoveries honored in the society’s national awards improve everyday life.