SETI bioastro: Philip and Phylis Morrison, and Science Service Picked for NSB Public Service Awards

From: Larry Klaes (
Date: Fri Apr 28 2000 - 09:49:12 PDT

Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2000 22:07:49 -0400 (EDT)
From: NSF Custom News Service <>
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Subject: [pr0026] - News Releases

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   Title: Philip and Phylis Morrison, and Science Service Picked for
          NSB Public Service Awards
    Type: News Releases
 Subtype: National Science Board

It may be found at:

Full text follows.

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Title: Philip and Phylis Morrison, and Science Service Picked for
       NSB Public Service Awards
Date: April 27, 2000

Media contact:
April 27, 2000
Bill Noxon
NSF PR 00-26 (NSB 00-103)
(703) 306-1070/

Program contact:
Susan Fannoney
(703) 306-1096/


     The National Science Board (NSB) has named Philip and Phylis Morrison
- he, a renowned physicist and science communicator, and she, an educator,
author and her husband's long-time collaborator - for the NSB's third
annual public service award. The NSB is honoring both Morrisons with
individual awards because of their unique teaming efforts over many years
in communicating science and enhancing the public's understanding of it,
and for educating, encouraging and influencing a new generation of

      The NSB also named Science Service, a nonprofit organization founded
in 1921 to advance public understanding and appreciation of science, to
receive the public service award for organizations. Science Service
administers several prestigious education programs for middle school and
high school students, and also publishes the highly regarded weekly news
magazine Science News.

     The awards will be presented at a ceremony on the evening of May 3.

     Philip Morrison, institute professor emeritus at M.I.T., is widely
known for his work in high-energy astrophysics among several other fields.
During World War Two, he was a group leader for the Manhattan Project and
took part in the first test of the atomic bomb in the Nevada desert.

     In the 1950s, Morrison turned his attention to studies of gamma ray
astronomy, and cosmology. He became one of the first scientists to call
for a coordinated search for interstellar communications through use of
radio waves.

     By the 1960s, Morrison shifted his focus into a broad range of
science communications. He began reviewing books for Scientific American
in 1965. And with his wife Phylis, an art and science teacher he met on
an education project at M.I.T., the two went on to co-author many books,
work closely on education reform initiatives, narrate and script films,
and appear widely on science programs for the BBC, Canadian Broadcasting
and American television's NOVA series on PBS. The Morrisons became
widely recognized for their presentation of a six-part PBS series, "The
Ring of Truth," aired in 1987. They also coauthored and collaborated on a
book and its film adaptation, "The Powers of Ten," which present
compelling visual images of the world around us, from the most minute
objects to the unimaginably vast.

     "Their ability is to see things whole, not from a single perspective.
They focus on teaching freshmen courses that empower students to learn
through experimentation. Their reviews of childrens' science books and
their giveaways of these books to children each year are all indicative of
how special they are," Michael Ambrosino, chair of the advisory committee
to the NSB awards, said. The Morrisons, he added, maintain a vast
interest in international education, especially in India and Africa.

     Science Service, based in Washington, D.C., has made its mark through
a wide variety of programs that encourage students, parents, teachers and
communities to learn about and explore the worlds of science and
discovery. The organization has reached millions through its many
activities. The Intel Science Talent Search, the nation's oldest science
competition, often referred to as the junior Nobel, is for high school
seniors completing an original individual research project. The Intel
Science and Engineering Fair brings together 1,200 students from every
state and over 40 nations to compete for scholarships, tuition grants,
internships and the grand prize of a trip to Sweden to attend the Nobel
Prize ceremonies. In 1999, Science Service launched the Discovery Young
Scientist Challenge for students in grades 5-8 competing in science fairs
throughout the country, with finalists making a trip to Washington to
compete in science challenges for the top scholarship prize worth $10,000,
and international field trips with notable scientists.

     The weekly Science News has long been appreciated by science
journalists as a key source of information and valuable news journal
geared to scientists and non-scientists alike.

     "Science News and its offspring, Science On-Line are compelling,
colorful and completely accurate in describing advances in scientific
discovery," David Perlman, a science editor and member of the advisory
committee for the awards, said. He added that the Service's Science
Talent Search and International Science and Engineering Fair "stimulate
wonderful inquiry-based scientific experiments and projects among high
school students in every community in America." He described the
Discovery Young Scientist Challenge as having "an auspicious beginning"
for being in just its second year.

     Science Service also provides a wide range of training resources and
enrichment programs for pre-college students in science, technology and
engineering, and for future teachers. It also has initiated the
first-ever integrated effort between government, corporate and nonprofit
partners, called "Summit on Science," to raise national awareness on the
importance of science literacy.

     The NSB's public service award to Science Service cited the
organization's efforts to raise the level of understanding of science and
technology, and its work to foster awareness among broad segments of the


Attachment: Fact sheet on NSB Public Service Award


National Science Board Public Service Award

Media contact:
Bill Noxon
(703) 306-1070/

Background. The National Science Board established its annual Public
Service Award in November, 1996 to be presented each year to one or more
individuals and one institution to recognize their contributions to
increased understanding of science or engineering on a wide scale.

Criteria. Unlike other NSB recognition, the Public Service Award does not
focus on accomplishments in science and engineering, primarily. Candidates
for the award must demonstrate contributions to public service beyond their
scientific accomplishments, including:

- an increased understanding of the processes of science and engineering
  scientific discovery, innovation and its communication to the public;

- encouraging others to help raise public understanding of science and

- promoting the engagement of scientists and engineers in public outreach and
  scientific literacy;

- contributing to the development and support of broad science and
engineering policy;

- influencing and encouraging the next generation of scientists and engineers;

- achieving broad recognition outside their area of specialization;

- and fostering awareness of science and technology among broad segments of

Candidates remain eligible to receive the Public Service Award for three
years, including the year nominated. Based on the judgment of a six-member
advisory committee appointed by the NSB chairman, recommendations of the
advisory group are submitted to the full Board for final selection.
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