It makes me very happy to share the announcement that our friend Dr. Emily Willingham is joint winner of the 2014 John Maddox Prize for Standing Up for Science. Emily is brave. That isn’t an adjective that one gets to use for many science writers; but Emily is brave. She has continued to bring clarity of scientific evidence to controversial issues such as autism, vaccines, school shootings, and parenting despite continuous abuse, legal threats, and other challeges.
The judges awarded the prize to freelance journalist Dr Emily Willingham and early career scientist Dr David Robert Grimes for courage in promoting science and evidence on a matter of public interest, despite facing difficulty and hostility in doing so…Emily Willingham, a US writer, has brought discussion about evidence, from school shootings to home birth, to large audiences through her writing. She has continued to reach across conflict and disputes about evidence to the people trying to make sense of them. She is facing a lawsuit for an article about the purported link between vaccines and autism. – Sense About Science
Although we do not know Dr. David Grimes, he also deserves our congratulations, thanks, and deep respect for his work:
David Grimes writes bravely on challenging and controversial issues, including nuclear power and climate change. He has persevered despite hostility and threats, such as on his writing about the evidence in the debate on abortion in Ireland. He does so while sustaining his career as a scientist at the University of Oxford. – Sense About Science
I have received phone calls from a very distressed David Grimes late at night over death threats, looking for a second opinion about how to cope with threats to his livelihood and threats of physical harm against him. While David is no push over, the constant barrage of abuse does take its toll and it’s very brave of him to continue to speak out against scientific falsehoods in the media when he’s under no obligation to as a researcher. – Daniel Murray
Congratulations to Dr. Emily Willingham and Dr. David Grimes.