2019 Science Awareness Award


Film - The Human Element

James Balog, photographer, and Matthew Testa, director

Photographer James Balog and director Matthew Testa explore wildfires, hurricanes, sea level rise, a struggling coal mining community, and our changing air supply in The Human Element, a full-length documentary film that highlights Americans who are on the frontlines of climate change.It provides a stunning view into the dynamic between people and nature, revealing that when we change nature, nature changes us. The Human Element debuted in April 2018 at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

James Balog


James Balog, founder of the Extreme Ice Survey and Earth Vision Institute in Boulder, CO, is author of seven books, including Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers (2012), Tree: A New Vision of the American Forest (2004), and Survivors: A New Vision of Endangered Wildlife (1990).  

Balog’s forty years of environmental photography combines insights from art and science, producing innovative, dynamic and sometimes shocking interpretations of our changing world

Matthew Testa


Director Matthew Testa has been working in documentary film and television for two decades, often focusing on the environment, social justice issues and the interplay between people and nature.  Testa’s previous films and nonfiction series include Murder Mountain (Netflix), Vlogumentry (YouTube Premium), Snake Salvation (National Geographic), Whale Wars (Animal Planet), Storm Chasers (Discovery) and The First 48 (A&E). His first film was the ITVS-funded environmental documentary, The Buffalo War, which aired nationally on PBS, toured festivals and won 9 awards.

Book - Dispatches from Planet 3

Marcia Bartusiak, author


Combining her undergraduate training in journalism with a master’s degree in physics, Marcia Bartusiak has been covering the fields of astronomy and physics for four decades. She has published in a variety of publications, including Science, Smithsonian, Discover, National Geographic, and Astronomy.

 Currently Professor of the Practice in the Graduate Program in Science Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she is the author of seven books, including Dispatches from Planet 3, Einstein's Unfinished Symphony, her award-winning history of gravitational-wave astronomy, Black Hole, and The Day We Found the Universe, on the birth of modern cosmology, which won the Davis Prize of the History of Science Society.


In 1982, she was the first woman to win the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award and five years later was a finalist in NASA‘s Journalist-in-Space competition. She has also received the AIP Gemant Award, the Klumpke-Roberts Award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and in 2008 was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, cited for “exceptionally clear communication of the rich history, the intricate nature, and the modern practice of astronomy to the public at large.”