The SWCC regularly offers awards for excellence in promoting a better understanding of science by the public: The awards recognize excellence as exhibited by initiative, originality, scientific accuracy, and clarity of interpretation.
The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada is pleased to announce the winners of this year's awards for books published in 2016. The awards will be presented during Science Literacy week in Toronto and Victoria. And they will be open to the public. Stay tuned for details!
In the youth category the winner is:
Faster Higher Smarter by Simon Shapiro
It takes a lot of talent, skill, and hard work to become a world-class athlete. But it takes even more to make a sport better: it takes smarts! And whether innovators are aware of it or not, it takes an understanding of physics, mechanics, and aerodynamics to come up with better techniques and equipment. From swimming, soccer, and basketball to skateboarding and wheelchair sports, Faster Higher Smarter looks at the hard science behind many inventions and improvements in sports.
In the general audience category the winner is:
The Killer Whale Who Changed The World by Mark Leiren-Young
Killer whales had always been seen as bloodthirsty sea monsters. That all changed when a young killer whale was captured off the west coast of North America and displayed to the public in 1964. Moby Doll — as the whale became known — was an instant celebrity, drawing 20,000 visitors on the one and only day he was exhibited. He died within a few months, but his famous gentleness sparked a worldwide crusade that transformed how people understood and appreciated orcas. Because of Moby Doll, we stopped fearing “killers” and grew to love and respect “orcas.”
'The Killer Whale Who Changed the World' is a riveting and uniquely Canadian science story about how the first observations of a captive orca transformed the understanding of this species and inspired an international conservation effort. It unfolds through lively narrative filled with suspense, clarity and humour to reveal the pivotal role played by a group of Canadian scientists, businessmen and the founding director of the Vancouver Aquarium. The author, science journalist Mark Leiren-Young, chased the story for almost 20 years. We unanimously wish to honour his effort and persistence in chasing and investigating this story, as well as underlying the originality and ongoing relevance of the story. 'The Killer Whale Who Changed the World’ is a must read by all who care about nature, species conservation, and animal welfare, and an eloquent example of excellent science journalism.
Science Writers and Communicators of Canada offer two annual book awards to honour outstanding contributions to science writing 1) intended for and available to children/middle grades ages 8-12 years, and 2) intended for and available to the general public. Books are judged on literary excellence and scientific content and accuracy. In addition the two book juries look for initiative, originality, clarity of interpretation, relevance and value in promoting greater understanding of science by the general reader. The independent juries are composed of writers, scientists and members of the intended audience. Winners receive a certificate and cash prize of $1,000. The prizes will be presented at the SWCC annual conference in Ottawa, Sept 13-16.
AWARDS PRESENTED IN 2016 FOR OUTSTANDING WORK PUBLISHED IN 2015
2015 Herb Lampert Science in Society Emerging Journalist Award:
Memory in the Flesh: A radical 1950s scientist suggested memories could survive outside the brain – and he may have been right by Arielle Duhaime-Ross, The Verge, 18 March 2015.
Honourable Mention: What We Can Learn from the World’s Longest Hibernator by Yutaka Dirks, Van Winkle's, 6 October 2015.
2015 Science in Society Journalism Award:
Getting Smarter by Dan Falk, University of Toronto Magazine, Summer 2015.
Honourable Mention: Behind a vegetative patient's shocking recovery, by Kate Lunau, Maclean’s, 31 December 2015.
2015 Science in Society Communications Award:
Slice of PI by Colin Hunter, Tenille Bonoguore, Liz Goheen, and Maxwell Lantz, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, 2015.
2015 Science in Society Children/ Middle Grades Book Award:
The Queen’s Shadow: A Story About How Animals See by Cybèle Young, Kids Can Press.
2015 Science in Society General Book Award:
Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? by Timothy Caulfield, Penguin Random House Canada.
CSWA AWARDS PRESENTED IN 2015 FOR OUTSTANDING WORK PUBLISHED IN 2014
2014 Herb Lampert Science in Society Emerging Journalist Award:
Floating Away: The Science of Sensory Deprivation Therapy, byShelly Xuelai Fan , Discover Magazine, 4 April 2014.
Sensory deprivation was considered the ultimate psychological torture device. Now it is rapidly becoming North America's new drug-of-choice. Across the continent ""float houses"" are increasing in popularity, offering eager psychonauts a chance to explore this unique state of mind. Those running the business are quick to list the health benefits of frequent ""floats"", which range from the believable – relaxation, heightened senses – to the seemingly nonsensical. Are these proclaimed benefits backed up by science or are they simply new-age hogwash? Floating Away delves into the science of sensory deprivation therapy by interviewing the field’s pioneering researcher at the University of British Columbia, and offers a critical look at the past and future of this fringe research area.
Shelly Xuelai Fan is a PhD student in Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, where she studies protein degradation in neurodegenerative diseases. She is a science writer with an insatiable obsession with the brain, and her work has appeared in Discover, Scientific American MIND, UBC Medical Journal and other publications.
2014 Science in Society Journalism Award:
The Allergy Fix by Bruce Mohun and Helen Slinger, Dreamfilm Productions. The Allergy Fix aired CBC-TV's The Nature of Things, 27 February 2014.
A documentary that explores the science behind the surge in childhood food allergies over the last twenty years. More than three times as many children have food allergies now than twenty years ago, and one out of every three children is now allergic to something, be it food, animals, or plants.
Director/writer Bruce Mohun is a Vancouver-based science journalist and television director who has produced, directed, hosted and written hundreds of hours of TV for broadcasters including CBC, Discovery, and Knowledge. His past documentaries for CBC-TV’s The Nature of Things have won multiple awards including both the Gold and Silver World Medals at the New York Festivals. Bruce has been honoured with both the Science Council of British Columbia's Eve Savory Award for Science Communication, and the Canadian Federation of Biological Societies’ J. Gordin Kaplan Award for Science Communication.
Helen Slinger is a master storyteller who began her career as a newspaper and then television reporter. After a lengthy left turn into news management, she left mainstream media to pursue her passion for documentary. Since then she has directed, written and produced many documentaries, including more than ten made in collaboration with Dreamfilm."
Blinded By Scientific Gobbledygookseries, by Tom Spears, The Ottawa Citizen.
Undoing Forever, by Britt Wray, CBC Radio One IDEAS.
2014 Science in Society Communication Award:
The Giant Walk Through the Brain, by Trevor Day, Jay Ingram and Christian Jacob.
In 1972, neuroscientist Joseph Bogen suggested building a giant 60-story high science museum of the human brain. This giant walkthrough brain would educate and engage students and the public by taking them on guided tours inside, making it possible to visualize anatomical relationships among structures surrounding them. Although this architectural project remains an intriguing idea, the cost makes it unlikely an actual walk through brain will ever be built. However, modern computer technology and advances in computational human anatomy models provide another avenue for exploring a three-dimensional virtual human brain. Our team has developed “The Giant Walk through the Brain”, an innovative, engaging, narrative-driven public science communication performance which takes a live audience on a larger-than-life virtual tour of the human brain. “The Giant Walk Through Brain” is a live theatrical performance, including engaging, story-driven narration, dramatic 3-D computer animations and original live music.
Dr. Trevor Day is a neurobiologist and Associate Professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. He is music director and leader of the five-piece band “The Free Radicals”. They have written original music to accompany the narration and guided 3-D tour of the brain during the live performance. Dr. Christian Jacob is a Professor and director of the University of Calgary’s LINDSAY Virtual Human Project and the leader of the animation team. They have developed custom-made, scientifically accurate 3-D models and animations in the form of interactive fly-throughs to support the scientific and narrative content of the performance. Science broadcaster Jay Ingram wrote the narration and acts as tour guide for The Giant Walk Through Brain performance. He is a member of the Order of Canada with 30 years of broadcasting experience with CBC Radio and Discovery Channel, author of 13 books and co-founder of Calgary’s Art, Science and Engineering festival Beakerhead.
2014 Science in Society Children’s Book Award:
The Fly by Elise Gravel, Penguin Random House.
The first in a series of humorous books about “disgusting creatures”, The Fly is a look at the common housefly. It covers such topics as the hair on the fly's body (requires a lot of shaving), its ability to walk on the ceiling (it's pretty cool, but it's hard to play soccer up there), and its really disgusting food tastes (garbage juice soup followed by dirty diaper with rotten tomato sauce, for example).
Elise Gravel is an award-winning author and illustrator from Québec. She is winner of the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Illustration in French, and is well known in Québec for her original, wacky picture books. Having completed her studies in graphic design, Elise found herself quickly swept up into the glamorous world of illustration. Her old design habits drive her to work a little text here and there into her drawings and she loves to handle the design of her assignments from start to finish. She is inspired by social causes and likes projects that can handle a good dose of eccentricity.
2014 Science in Society General Book Award competition:
Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive by Mark L. Winston, Harvard University Press.
Being among bees is a full-body experience, Mark Winston writes—from the low hum of tens of thousands of insects and the pungent smell of honey and beeswax, to the sight of workers flying back and forth between flowers and the hive. The experience of an apiary slows our sense of time, heightens our awareness, and inspires awe. Bee Time presents Winston’s reflections on three decades spent studying these creatures, and on the lessons they can teach about how humans might better interact with one another and the natural world. Like us, honeybees represent a pinnacle of animal sociality. How they submerge individual needs into the colony collective provides a lens through which to ponder human societies. Winston explains how bees process information, structure work, and communicate, and examines how corporate boardrooms are using bee societies as a model to improve collaboration. He investigates how bees have altered our understanding of agricultural ecosystems and how urban planners are looking to bees in designing more nature-friendly cities. The relationship between bees and people has not always been benign. Bee populations are diminishing due to human impact, and we cannot afford to ignore what the demise of bees tells us about our own tenuous affiliation with nature. Toxic interactions between pesticides and bee diseases have been particularly harmful, foreshadowing similar effects of pesticides on human health. There is much to learn from bees in how they respond to these challenges. In sustaining their societies, bees teach us ways to sustain our own.
Mark L. Winston has had a distinguished career researching, teaching, writing and commenting on bees and agriculture, environmental issues, and science policy. He was a founding faculty member of the Banff Centre’s Science Communication programme, and consults widely on utilizing dialogue to develop leadership and communication skills, focus on strategic planning, inspire organisational change, and thoughtfully engage public audiences with controversial issues. Winston’s work has appeared in numerous books, commentary columns for The Vancouver Sun, The New York Times, The Sciences, Orion magazine and frequently on CBC Radio and Television and National Public Radio. He currently is a Fellow in Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, and a Professor of Biological Sciences.
For further information, please contact the CSWA at 1-800-796-8595 or firstname.lastname@example.org.