The Stephen Jay Gould Prize is awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize individuals whose sustained and exemplary efforts have advanced public understanding of evolutionary science and its importance in biology, education, and everyday life in the spirit of Stephen Jay Gould.
The winner of the 2009 Stephen Jay Gould Prize is Eugenie C. Scott. Dr. Scott has devoted her life to advancing public understanding of evolution. As the executive director of the National Center for Science Education she has been in the forefront of battles to ensure that public education clearly distinguishes science from non-science and that the principles of evolution are taught in all biology courses. She has served on the boards of many organizations, such as the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, and as a consultant to organizations from the National Academy of Sciences to WGBH/NOVA to the Mississippi Department of Education. In these efforts, she has been an important leader in the public sphere, molding and focusing the efforts of scientists, educators, lay people, religious groups, skeptics, agnostics, believers, scholars, and ordinary citizens through firm but gentle guidance.
Dr. Scott is a gifted communicator and public intellectual. She is a frequent guest on radio and television shows, and an eloquent spokeswoman for science. Her writings have illuminated the process of science to thousands, and her books have exposed the efforts of many groups in our society to hobble and undermine the teaching of science to our younger generation. The organization she helped create far transcends the considerable reach of her own voice, vastly amplifying her impact on public understanding. For these many reasons, it is extremely appropriate that Dr. Scott be the first recipient of the Gould Prize.
The National Center for Science Education has also posted a series of four videos on YouTube in which Genie talks about creationism, the nature of science, and the fallacy of irreducible complexity. Check them out.