June 19, 2013
Following a full day of events on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at the Science Policy Conference, there will be a reception on Capitol Hill, in B339-B340 Rayburn House Office Building, with opportunities for networking and refreshments. Recap the topics of the day with other conference participants. The reception will be open to conference attendees and their guests, congressional staff, and the public. During the reception, AGU will be awarding the recipients of the 2013 AGU Presidential Citation for Science and Society, which recognizes individuals who display leadership and vision in shaping policy and heightening public awareness of the value of Earth and space science. The 2013 recipients are James Balog, Richard Harris, and Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.).
James Balog has been an influential photographer of the natural environment since the early 1980s. He has written eight books and earned numerous recognitions and awards. Before focusing his efforts on photography, Balog was an avid mountaineer with a graduate degree in geography and geomorphology. The Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) is a project founded by Balog in 2007 that merges art and science with the most extensive, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted. Using stunning time-lapse videos, EIS reveals visual evidence of how quickly climate change is transforming large regions of the planet. This project is depicted in the award-winning documentary Chasing Ice, which was released in 2012 and screened at the White House, the U.S. Congress, the U.K. House of Commons, and the United Nations.
Award-winning journalist and correspondent Richard Harris has brought science into the homes of millions of people for more than 25 years through his unbiased reporting with NPR. Harris has closely followed the evolving story of climate change. He has covered the UN climate negotiations, starting with the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, followed by Kyoto in 1997, and Copenhagen in 2009. Harris was also a major contributor to the NPR award-winning Climate Connections series in 2007-2008. In 2010, Harris’s reporting revealed that the blown-out BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was spewing out far more oil than asserted in official estimates. Harris is the cofounder of the D.C. Science Writers Association in Washington and a past president of the National Association of Science Writers.
As an active member of Congress, Rep. Rush Holt has helped promote STEM education, science, and long-term strategies for a sustainable environment. Holt serves on the Education and the Workforce Committee and the Natural Resources Committee, where he has helped to secure more than $700 million in new federal funding for science and technology research. He also helped write the 2007 College Cost Reduction Act, which not only cut student loan interest rates in half, but also provided for tuition assistance for students studying to become math, science, and foreign language teachers. His support for the legislation was part of his ongoing efforts to improve education in the United States. Before coming to Congress in 1999, Holt earned a Ph.D. in physics and was a professor of public policy and physics. From 1989 to 1998, he was the assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the largest center for research in alternative energy in New Jersey.
-Sam Brockway, AGU Public Affairs Intern