APA Past-president Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD, joined the ranks of sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson and the late astronomer Carl Sagan in December when he accepted the 2002 Sagan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Improving the Public Understanding and Appreciation of Science.
He was commended for opening the public's mind to science through his popular "Discovering Psychology" video series. The Council of Scientific Society Presidents, whose membership includes the presidents, presidents-elect and immediate past-presidents of more than 60 scientific societies and federations for virtually every field of U.S. science, math, technology and engineering, presented Zimbardo with the honor at the organization's most recent semiannual meeting in Washington, D.C.
The group also elected Zimbardo to its executive board, on which he will serve for one year.
Past winners of its prestigious Sagan award, which honors scientists and others who magnify the public's appreciation and understanding of science, include Sagan, Wilson, John Rennie, the editor of Scientific American, and Richard Harris and Ira Flatow of National Public Radio.
The 26-part "Discovering Psychology" series--hosted and researched by Zimbardo--has been expanding public awareness of psychology since it debuted in 1990. Hundreds of thousands of high school and college students have earned introductory psychology credit through the series, and it has been broadcast to more than 58,000 U.S. schools and shown in 10 countries. Zimbardo and producers at television station WGBH in Boston revamped the series in 2001 to include more cutting-edge research, new historical footage and three new episodes on cognitive neuroscience, cultural psychology and applied psychology. The cognitive neuroscience episode recently won an Emmy award from the New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.