25 June 2012

The John Maddox Prize

Here is a novel award given by the UK group Sense About Science in partnership with Nature:
The John Maddox Prize will reward an individual who has promoted sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest. Its emphasis is on those who have faced difficulty or hostility in doing so.

Nominations of people at an early stage in their careers are particularly welcomed.

The prize is open to nominations for any kind of public activity, including all forms of writing, speaking and public engagement, in any of the following areas:
  • Addressing misleading information about scientific or medical issues in any forum.
  • Bringing sound evidence to bear in a public or policy debate.
  • Helping people to make sense of a complex scientific issue.
The prize: £2000. An announcement of the winner will be published in Nature.

Sir John Maddox, whose name this prize commemorates, was a passionate and tireless champion and defender of science, engaging with difficult debates and inspiring others to do the same. As a writer and editor, he changed attitudes and perceptions, and strove for better understanding and appreciation of science throughout his long working life.
Know anyone deserving? Nominations due 20 August here. I already have a few people in mind to nominate, but I'd welcome your suggestions -- Feel free to discuss and debate candidates in the comments.


  1. "Bringing sound evidence to bear in a public or policy debate"

    I'm aware this is your area of expertise Roger, but with respect this should be called the 'Lomborg appreciation prize'

  2. A prize for an unpopular youngster -- as worthy as it is unreal

  3. Given that the prize is for someone "who has promoted sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest" and "who ha[s] faced difficulty or hostility in doing so",
    how can Steve McIntyre not be the nominee?

  4. Anthony Watts .. for Surface Stations Project. (even Richard Muller, of the BEST project, said Anthony should receive some kind of international prize).

  5. Since this will been done in conjunction with Nature I wouldn't be surprise if it's somebody at CRU East Anglia.

  6. I suspect the winner of the award will be someone who fits none of the criteria. See e.g. Obama winning the Nobel Peace prize for .....

    The purpose of the prize is to make a political statement. In the end, it will say more about those who award it than it does about who wins it.

  7. Received via email:

    "Linah Ababneh -- she got her PhD in spite of doing good science in very adverse circumstances. Even her hedging or skirting round certain areas was done without compromising her results too much. A worthy recipient.

    See: http://climateaudit.org/2007/10/16/the-ababneh-thesis/


  8. Maddox was most notable for speaking out against apocalyptic claptrap.
    His excellent book, "The Doomsday Syndrome", is a tremendous resource for understanding how doom hypesters use science to justify their wild claims about worldwide disaster.
    I will bet that poor Sir Maddox will be rolling in his grave when this prize in his name goes to some AGW fear monger.