We are thrilled to pass along the news that Scientific American has won this year’s prestigious Science in Society award, given by the National Association of Science Writers, for the essay Ban Chimp Testing that appeared online and in our October 2011 issue. The article made the argument that medical testing caused such psychological harm to chimpanzees, including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, that further use of chimps in testing was indefensible.
One NASW judge called the commentary “a terrific example of clear reporting and social advocacy,” saying that the essay “captures the enduring plight of our closest living relatives and offers sober advice on how to help them.”
The article appeared in our Agenda column, which each month urges action of some sort on a pressing issue of science policy. We always sign these essays “by The Editors” because they are truly group efforts. Of course, a group needs a leader, and in this case, that was Senior Editor Kate Wong, who made a persuasive case for covering this topic and taking this particular stand, and gave the argument form with lucid writing that appealed both to the head and the heart. George Musser edited it, with input from the staff.
The award will be presented at the meeting of ScienceWriters2012 in Raleigh, NC.
We would also like to congratulate the winners in other categories: Seth Mnookin for his book Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear (Simon & Schuster); the Center for Public Integrity (Jim Morris, Chris Hamby, Ronnie Greene, Elizabeth Lucas, Emma Schwartz) and NPR (Elizabeth Shogren, Howard Berkes, Sandra Bartlett, John Poole, Robert Benincasa), which won in the reporting category for “Poisoned Places“; and local / regional reporting winners Emilene Ostlind and Mary Ellen Hannibal, who published “Perilous Passages” in High Country News.