David Grinspoon is the 2006 recipient of the Carl Sagan Medal of Excellence in Public Communication in Planetary Science
The Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society awards the 2006 Carl Sagan Medal for Excellence in Public Communication by a Planetary Scientist to David H. Grinspoon, the Curator of Astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Few practicing researchers in planetary science have devoted so much effort to public outreach, and done it so effectively, as David Grinspoon. He has a special gift in being able to communicate exciting ideas at the leading edge of planetary and astrobiological research to the interested public. In his prize-winning popular book, “Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life,” and his earlier “Venus Revealed,” one encounters amazingly engaging works that seek to place diverse aspects of life in the universe, and of our sister planet, into larger cultural contexts. The reader is treated to fresh, “outside the box” perceptions, and asked to stretch his or her mind in unexpected directions, an inevitably intensely rewarding experience!
Grinspoon received several awards recognizing his excellent teaching while at the University of Colorado. In more recent years, he has traveled and lectured extensively, appeared on radio and in television science documentaries, and written popular articles for magazines and Op Ed pieces for the nation’s leading newspapers. In Grinspoon’s interactions with the public there is visible joy and enthusiasm about planetary science and science in general, all supported by his profound sense of science as an ethical human enterprise. He is one of just a few excellent active planetary science researchers who self-describe their careers in education and public outreach as being of equal or greater importance. Grinspoon thus follows in the tradition of Carl Sagan himself, and like Sagan in his time, Grinspoon is nearly unique in making science truly hip.
For his strong dedication to excellence in communicating planetary science to the public, and illuminating the numinous, the Division for Planetary Sciences is pleased to present the 2006 Carl Sagan Medal to David H. Grinspoon.