The Planetary Society has named physicist Stephen Hawking the next recipient of the Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science, and will present him with the award in Cambridge, England on February 27, 2010.
The Planetary Society created the Cosmos Award to honor individuals whose innovative presentations about science capture the public imagination. For over 20 years, Hawking has engaged the public in some of the most profound questions of existence. His book, A Brief History of Time, broke records as a non-fiction best seller and led to a documentary film of the same name. He continued to intrigue the public with his television series, Stephen Hawking's Universe, and now reaches an entirely new audience with the children’s books he co-authors with his daughter Lucy.
“Stephen Hawking is a science superstar,” said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society. “His insights span the universe and deepen our understanding of all physics.”
Hawking also has shown great personal interest in humans exploring other worlds, personally experiencing weightlessness during a Zero-G airplane flight in 2007. He advocates human space missions as both a means to fire the public imagination and as a major component of any long-term space exploration strategy.
The Cosmos Award is named after the television series Cosmos, which was created by Planetary Society co-founder, Carl Sagan. A grant from the M.R. & Evelyn Hudson Foundation launched The Planetary Society’s Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science in 2005.
James Cameron, creator of the Academy Award-nominated film Avatar, and NOVA Producer Paula Apsell were both previous winners of the Cosmos Award. Each winner is a personification of the Society's mission: To inspire the people of Earth to explore other worlds, understand our own and seek life elsewhere.
Hawking will accept the Cosmos Award in person at an event that will also feature Friedman, Martin Rees, Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jim Bell, and Ann Druyan.
Funding from the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation helped make this event possible.
The event will take place at 3:30 at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences on Wilberforce Road in Cambridge, England. Tickets are sold out. Representatives of the media may contact Susan Lendroth about attending this event.