Presidential Citations for Science and Society Announced By the American Geophysical Union

Prestigious award celebrates leaders whose work has advanced understanding and appreciation of the value of Earth and space science to society

10 June 2013

Joint Release

Washington, D.C. – In recognition of their leadership and vision in shaping policy and heightening public awareness of the value of Earth and space science, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) has chosen James Balog, founder/director of the Extreme Ice Survey, Richard Harris, National Public Radio science desk correspondent, and Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ 12th) as the recipients of its 2013 Presidential Citation for Science and Society. The awards will be presented during AGU’s Science Policy Conference at a reception on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at 5:30 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building Foyer.

“Scientific and societal advancements go hand in hand, and neither can be accomplished without the passion and innovation of talented people who are willing to reach out to new partners and audiences,” said AGU President Carol Finn. “Many of the greatest challenges we face today to our health, security, and environment can only be addressed when our personal and policy decisions are informed by science. Through their leadership, commitment, and enthusiasm, James Balog, Richard Harris, and Congressman Rush Holt have demonstrated the crucial role science can play in protecting public health and safety, connecting humans to their environment and promoting economic growth.”

James Balog: Recognized as a leader in photographing and interpreting the natural environment, Balog founded and directed the Extreme Ice Survey to document the impact of climate change through a photographic survey of glaciers. His work on the project is the subject of the award-winning documentary Chasing Ice (2012). An avid mountaineer with a graduate degree in geography and geomorphology, Balog is passionate about combining art and science to examine changes to the natural world and dedicated to communicating, both verbally and visually, the impacts of those changes to the public. He is the author of eight books, the recipient of numerous recognitions and awards, and his work is in dozens of public and private art collections.

Richard Harris: An award-winning journalist and correspondent for National Public Radio, Harris has brought science into the homes of millions of people through his unbiased reporting. Throughout his career as a journalist, Harris has covered almost all aspects of science, from cell biology to planetary science, and his stories have included coverage of important public-safety issues, including earthquakes and devastating tsunamis. For decades, Harris has closely followed the evolving story of climate change. His reporting on the subject led him to Antarctica, the Greenland Summit, the Arctic Ocean, the Great Barrier Reef, West Africa, and all the U.N. climate talks since Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Harris continues to give back to the

science-writing community and is a co-founder of the D.C. Science Writers Association.

Representative Rush Holt: As a scientist and long-time public servant, Representative Holt is an active member of Congress working to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, science, and long-term strategies for a sustainable environment. He serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Natural Resources, and he has helped secure more than $700 million in new federal funding for science and technology research. Though his efforts to create jobs and support innovation, the Congressman applies scientific thinking to some difficult policy challenges. He started the Einstein’s Alley initiative, which seeks to expand and maintain jobs in New Jersey by attracting and supporting innovative companies. Representative Holt has represented Central New Jersey in Congress since 1999 and has a Ph.D. in physics.

AGU’s Science Policy Conference brings together scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our environment, economy, national security, and public safety. The conference will take place 25 – 26 June at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C. For more information about the conference, speakers and other special events, please visit:

The American Geophysical Union is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization with more than 62,000 members representing over 144 countries. AGU advances the Earth and space sciences through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs.

AGU Contact
Joan Buhrman, +1 202-777-7509, [email protected]