Alley to receive first Schneider Award

August 29, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Richard B. Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, will be the first recipient of the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication, Climate One at The Commonwealth Club announced Friday, Aug. 26, during the 2011 Stephen H. Schneider Symposium in Boulder, Colo.

The $10,000 award is given to a natural or social scientist who has made extraordinary scientific contributions and communicated that knowledge to a broad public in a clear and compelling fashion. The award was established this year in honor of Stephen Henry Schneider, one of the founding fathers of climatology, who died unexpectedly in 2010.

The award jurors are Larry Goulder, chair of the Department of Economics at Stanford University; Ben Santer, climate researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and Bud Ward, editor of the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. The jury solicited nominations from experts in the fields of science and communication. The jury unanimously decided that Alley exemplifies the rare ability to be both a superb scientist and superior communicator in the mold of Stephen Schneider.

"Stephen Schneider was hugely successful at making science useful to the public so it is humbling to receive this award in his honor," said Alley.

Schneider, who was on the faculty of Stanford University at the time of his death, was internationally recognized for research, policy analysis and climate change.

Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will present the award in San Francisco on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at The Commonwealth Club of California. ClimateWorks Foundation and energy entrepreneur Michael Haas underwrite this award.

Alley was host of "Earth: The Operators' Manual," a PBS documentary and wrote the accompanying book. He is the co-author of "The Fate of Greenland: Lessons from Abrupt Climate Change" with Philip Conkling, Wallace Broecker and George Denton. His book on abrupt climate change, "The Two-Mile Time Machine," received the Phi Beta Kappa Science Award in 2001. He chaired a recent National Research Council study on Abrupt Climate Change, and serves, or has served, on many other advisory panels and steering committees.

Alley received his doctorate in geology, with a minor in materials science, from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987, and earned master of science and bachelor of science degrees in geology from Ohio State University in 1983 and 1980, respectively. He joined Penn State in 1988, and in 2008 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Climate One is the sustainability initiative at The Commonwealth Club of California, a nonprofit and nonpartisan public forum founded in San Francisco in 1903. The mission of The Commonwealth Club of California is to be the leading national forum open to all for the impartial discussion of public issues important to the membership, community and nation. Information about Climate One may be found at

  • Richard B. Alley

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 09, 2015