Rockefeller University announced that Dr. Sylvia Earle is the recipient of the 2017 Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science. The award, given annually by Rockefeller University, recognizes Earle’s body of work, which includes memoirs, atlases, and children’s books, as well as advocacy for global marine conservation.
The prize was established in 1993 by Rockefeller’s Board of Trustees and is named after its first recipient, noted physician-scientist and essayist Lewis Thomas. Winners of the Lewis Thomas Prize are celebrated for their ability to express science’s aesthetic and philosophical dimensions, providing new information and inspiring reflection.
“To understand the oceans, science needs and benefits from great explorers,” says Jesse H. Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment and chairman of the Lewis Thomas Prize selection committee. “Sylvia Earle is one of the most important ocean explorers of the last 50 years, and she brings a spirit of inspiration to everything she does. Her writing has inspired people to pursue careers in ocean science and in conservation, and she’s an enormously effective advocate for creating marine-protected areas in the U.S. and around the world.”
Dr. Earle has led more than 100 ocean expeditions around the world and pioneered the development of deep-ocean technology, including research submarines. Known internationally as a speaker, author, and advocate for marine conservation, Dr. Earle conducts field and laboratory studies that have led to the discovery of new plant and animal species and to the identification of new deep-water ecosystems.