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Biologist receives the 2008 AAAS Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has named Kenneth R. Miller, professor of biology in the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Brown University as winner of the 2008 AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology.

Miller was cited for "his sustained efforts and excellence in communicating evolutionary science." He will receive the award during a 14 February ceremony at the 2009 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Specifically, the AAAS prize committee described Miller as "a superstar in the public outreach and engagement world." He was a lead scientific witness in several important court cases, including the Dover, Pennsylvania case resulting from an unsuccessful legal attempt to insert the non-scientific concept of "intelligent design" into the science curriculum.

"He made an extraordinarily persuasive public case for the power of science in general, and the validity of evolution in particular, to explain the natural world," AAAS reported in announcing the award. "He did the scientific community an immeasurable service," by helping to uphold the integrity of U.S. science education.

Miller also is the co-author of one of the most widely used high school biology textbooks (Prentice Hall's Biology), which has gone through numerous editions, with millions of copies in print. This volume is especially notable for its articulate emphasis on evolution as an underlying principle in the life sciences.

Robert M. Hazen, research scientist at the geophysical laboratory of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington and Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University, nominated Miller to receive the AAAS award. "Miller wrote my favorite book on evolution science and, to me, the most persuasive synthesis of science and faith his beautiful Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution," Hazen wrote, in nominating Miller. "Few scientists have so effectively reached out to the nonscientific community."

In addition, Miller's accomplishments include dozens of public lectures; contributions to media organizations, such as his work as an adviser to PBS's NOVA program; service to professional organizations, including AAAS; and many appearances on radio and television. He received his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Colorado in 1974, and his undergraduate degree from Brown. He taught at Harvard for six years as a lecturer and as an assistant professor before returning to Brown in 1980. His most recent book is Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul, which was published in June 2008.

Established in 1987, the AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology recognizes scientists or engineers who, while working in their fields, have also contributed substantially to public understanding of science and technology. Contributions include books, articles in magazines and newspapers, broadcasting, lecturing, museum presentation and exhibit design.

The AAAS Awards for Public Understanding of Science and Technology will be presented at the 175th AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, which will take place 12-16 February 2009. The awards ceremony and reception will be held at The Fairmont Chicago on Saturday, 14 February at 5:00 p.m.


Contact: Molly McElroy
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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