May 4, 2005

Cornell News Service wins silver medal for science writing

ITHACA, N.Y. -- CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, has awarded Cornell News Service a silver medal for excellence in news writing in the category of research, medicine and science news.

Each year CASE singles out universities for awards in several areas of communications, alumni relations and fund-raising. In 1998 Cornell News Service won the CASE grand gold medal for writing in research, medicine and science.

This year's winning entry was remarkable in that three of the five entries were written by student science-writer interns working with the News Service. The student writers were:

Lissa Harris, for the obituary of Thomas Gold, professor emeritus of astronomy at Cornell who died in June 2004. At the time she prepared the article, Harris was a graduate student in natural resources. She is now a freelance writer in Boston. Harris' work was widely disseminated, winning much media praise. Partly as a result of Harris' work, Gold's life is to be the subject of a forthcoming "Nova" television program. Read the story.

Sarah Davidson, for an article about making plastics from oranges. Davidson, a graduate student in plant biology, wrote a deceptively simple story that resounded with reporters around the world, who sent scores of inquiries to the Cornell News Service. The article, which described research by Geoffrey Coates, professor of chemistry, appeared in a number of U.S. publications, including Business Week, and several foreign publications. Read the story.

Thomas Oberst, for an article on image-to-sound software for the blind. Oberst, a graduate student in astronomy, came across the story while reporting on another subject at Cornell's College of Engineering. The story was widely featured by the media, including the BBC. It described software for the blind written by a team led by engineering graduate student Victor Wong. Read the story.

The two other winning entries were written by News Service staffers: Bill Steele, on robots that simulate life, and Susan Lang, on the anti-cancer benefits of phytonutrients in apples.