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Communication Awards
2012 Winners and Finalists

Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow Wins Best Book Award
From Academies; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Slate Magazine, and
WGBH/NOVA Also Take Top Prizes in Awards' 10th Year

Recipients of the 10th annual Communication Awards were announced today by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine.  Supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation since 2003 as part of the Keck Futures Initiative, these prestigious awards -- each of which includes a $20,000 prize -- recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public in four categories: books, film/radio/TV, magazine/newspaper, and online.  The winners will be honored during an Oct. 12 ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, D.C.

"The last 10 years have seen many changes in these awards," said NAS Vice President Barbara A. Schaal, who chairs the 11-member communication awards selection committee.  "The number of outstanding nominees keeps increasing, with carefully crafted pieces that cover topics of scientific achievement and social importance.  The nature of communication with the public continues to evolve, which led to creating a fourth category -- online -- in 2009."

Selected from more than 300 print, broadcast, and Internet entries, the recipients of this year's awards for works published or aired in 2011 are:

Daniel Kahneman for his book Thinking, Fast and Slow (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux)
An outstanding and accessible book that brings to the public key scientific insights about how we think and make decisions.

Paula S. Apsell (senior executive producer), Michael Bicks (writer, producer, and director), and Julia Cort (senior producer, writer) for "Smartest Machine on Earth" (NOVA)
An imaginative television documentary that captures the challenge of programming a computer to mimic the way we think and explores a key question of 21st century science: Can a machine ever beat a human at the incredibly complex game of intelligence?

Crocker Stephenson, Guy Boulton, Mark Johnson, John Schmid, and the Journal Sentinel staff for the series "Empty Cradles" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Distinguished reporting about medical, cultural, and economic dilemmas in the delivery of health care in Milwaukee.

Daniel Engber for the series "The Mouse Trap: How One Rodent Rules the Lab" (Slate Magazine)
A clear focus on an unappreciated problem in scientific research: Relying exclusively on laboratory mice can be a big mistake.

The following were finalists:

James Gleick -- The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood (Pantheon Books)
Charles Mann -- 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (Alfred A. Knopf)
Dennis Overbye -- for the series "Live Out There" (The New York Times)
Alan Zarembo -- "Unraveling an Epidemic" (The Los Angeles Times)

The Keck Futures Initiative was created in 2003 to encourage interdisciplinary research and is funded by a 15-year, $40 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation.  Nominations for the 2013 Communication Awards will be accepted beginning Jan. 9, 2013, for work published or broadcast in 2012.  For more information on the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative and the Communication Awards, please visit www.keckfutures.org.  For more information about the W.M. Keck Foundation, please visit www.wmkeck.org.

Members of the media who would like to attend this year's award ceremony on Oct. 12 in Washington, D.C., should e-mail commawards@nas.edu to receive complimentary tickets.