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Press Release: Terri Cook and Phil McKenna awarded EGU Science Journalism Fellowship

23 February 2016

Terri Cook and Phil McKenna, winners of the 2016 Science Journalism Fellowship
Terri Cook and Phil McKenna, winners of the 2016 Science Journalism Fellowship (Credit: Left – Cheryl McCutchan)

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has named journalists Terri Cook and Phil McKenna as the winners of its 2016 Science Journalism Fellowship. Each of them will be awarded €2,500 for their journalism projects. The support will allow Cook to look into how artificial floods are used to support sustainable water development, while McKenna will report on how trees and buildings can weaken seismic vibrations.

Cook says: “It’s an honour to be selected for this fellowship, which I will use to travel to Switzerland to visit the Spöl River. This is one of the world’s best models of a successful, long-term strategy for using dams, which have traditionally disrupted river ecosystems, to intentionally unleash floods intended to restore them. I look forward to learning more about the efforts of the many scientists and managers who have worked together to restore this and other European rivers.”

McKenna will use his support to “report on ongoing efforts to understand how trees, and potentially buildings, could act as seismic metamaterials, materials that can cancel or redirect damaging earthquake waves,” he writes in his winning proposal. McKenna will travel to France to watch researchers deploy a network of seismometers in a remote location, half in an open field and half inside a forest, to find out if trees can diminish simulated earthquake waves.

Terri Cook is a science and travel writer based in Boulder, Colorado, US. She has a background in geology and has published more than 60 features about geology, ecology, and the environment in ScienceNews, Scientific American, NOVA Next, Eos, EARTH, among others, as well as three popular geology books.

Phil McKenna is a freelance science journalist who has written for publications such as the New York Times, Smithsonian, New Scientist, NOVA Next and InsideClimate News. In 2013 he wrote a feature for MATTER on the climate-change implications of natural gas emissions from aging pipelines under US cities, which won two science journalism awards.

More information

The EGU Science Journalism Fellowship is an annual competition open to professional journalists wishing to report on ongoing research in the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The winning proposals receive up to €5K to cover expenses related to their projects. This support is intended to allow the fellows to follow geoscientists on location and to develop an in-depth understanding of their questions, approaches, findings and motivation.

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is Europe’s premier geosciences union, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the Earth, planetary, and space sciences for the benefit of humanity, worldwide. It is a non-profit interdisciplinary learned association of scientists founded in 2002. The EGU has a current portfolio of 17 diverse scientific journals, which use an innovative open access format, and organises a number of topical meetings, and education and outreach activities. Its annual General Assembly is the largest and most prominent European geosciences event, attracting over 11,000 scientists from all over the world. The meeting’s sessions cover a wide range of topics, including volcanology, planetary exploration, the Earth’s internal structure and atmosphere, climate, energy, and resources. The EGU 2016 General Assembly is taking place in Vienna, Austria, from 17 to 22 April 2016. For information about meeting and press registration, please check http://media.egu.eu, or follow the EGU on Twitter and Facebook.

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Email: media@egu.eu

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