Not Exactly Rocket Science

What a night.

Tonight, during the gala dinner of the World Conference of Science Journalists, I won the Association of British Science Writers’ award for Best Newcomer 2009, collecting  a certificate, an award and prize money in the Natural History Museum’s central hall. In front of me: hundreds of international science journalists and Dippy the Diplodocus. Behind me: a statue of Charles Darwin. If that isn’t reward for efforts in writing about science, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, the award was a result of popular vote from members of the ABSW, so my heartiest thanks to anyone and everyone who voted, to Natasha for a lovely introduction and to everyone who came up and said congratulations. It’s a superlative honour and it was a pleasure to have met you all. Memo to self: winning an award makes networking, an activity I loathe and dread with a fiery passion, remarkably easy and passive.

I find it incredibly interesting that amid the unsaid conference themes of saving journalism, the rise of new media, and what actually qualifies as journalism, that this award should go to someone who freelances as a journalist but also works in science communication and blogs. I’m going to start describing myself as a triple-reassortant science writer.

Anyway, a couple of amusing things are worth noting. Firstly, my name is spelled wrongly in different ways on both the certificate (Ed Wong) and the tube it came in (Ed Young). A lovely lady from the ABSW took my address down to send me a corrected version, but I may try and see if any particularly wealthy Ed Wongs would like to buy the original.

The book I was given is this, and I have a history with it. I wrote about 2% of it as one of my first ever freelance gigs about two years ago. The cheeky publishers never sent me (nor any of the other contributor, nor indeed the editors) any copies so it’s great to finally have one (and amusing to hear screams of, “I never got a copy either!” throughout the evening.  

And finally, the setting was really special. I first came to London almost 20 years ago to the day, and the Natural History Museum was one of the things that made me fall in love with the city and, indeed, the country. It was where I saw my first dinosaur skeletons. It was where I first heard of some guy called David Attenborough and bought something called Life on Earth. I go back every year for the photography competition and a spot of ice-skating. The NHM is one of my favourite places and the fact that this happened there just made it that much more special.

If there’s one thing I regret, it’s that later on in the evening, they played Carmina Burana through the speakers. Not exactly the music-of-choice for a relaxed chat over wine, but also why couldn’t they have played it while I was climbing up to get the award? That would have been awesome.

Comments

  1. #1 Nick Anthis
    July 1, 2009

    Hey, that’s great. Well-deserved. Congrats.

  2. #2 Bob Williams
    July 1, 2009

    Congratulations! And I give you my own personal award. I print out many articles for further reference and study but when I come to your blog, I never stop to examine whether what you present is worth having. I know it will be and I print it out automatically.

  3. #3 chezjake
    July 1, 2009

    Congrats, Ed. It’s good to see your talents recognized. In my book, you’re right up there with Carl Zimmer in presenting science to the curious layman.

  4. #4 Laelaps
    July 1, 2009

    Congratulations, Ed! I cannot think of anyone who deserved it more. Thank you, as well, for your continued coverage of the events on Twitter. Your work is truly science blogging/writing at its best.

  5. #5 Jacob
    July 1, 2009

    Congratulations again Ed. Hope you get the corrected certificate soon!

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    July 1, 2009

    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!! Way to go!!!!!!

  7. #7 Scicurious
    July 1, 2009

    Yay Ed! You totally deserve it. I also hate networking, perhaps I just need to win something…

  8. #8 Kim Hannula
    July 1, 2009

    That is awesome. :) Congratulations.

  9. #9 John Lynch
    July 1, 2009

    Congratulations Ed whatever-your-name-is

  10. #10 Paul Sunstone
    July 1, 2009

    Congratulations, Ed! There’s no science writer I’m aware of who is more deserving than you. Keep up the outstanding work!

  11. #11 ambivalent academic
    July 1, 2009

    Congratulations!

  12. #12 Sheril R. Kirshenbaum
    July 1, 2009

    Congratulations Ed!

  13. #13 Glendon Mellow
    July 1, 2009

    Congratulations, Ed! That’s spectacular!

  14. #14 David Dobbs
    July 1, 2009

    let me say again: Bully for you, Ed! Well-deserved — and clearly well-enjoyed. Wish I could have been there to shout a huzzah! But when I next get to London, will do my best to buy you a cold one and raise my own in your honor.

  15. #15 Zuska
    July 1, 2009

    Yay, Ed! Congratulations! I cannot believe you don’t enjoy networking – you totally have the wit and sense of humor for it. Anyway, congrats again on an award well deserved!

  16. #16 razib
    July 1, 2009

    props.

  17. #17 Daniel MacArthur
    July 2, 2009

    Well done, Ed – hopefully will be able to congratulate you in person today!

  18. #18 Gammidy
    July 2, 2009

    I’m not at all surprised by that news. I stumbled upon this blog a few weeks ago and I am blown over by the range, depth and quality of the writing. I don’t know how you do it Ed, but please keep it up.

  19. #19 Jen
    July 2, 2009

    Congratulations- it’s well deserved.

  20. #20 ArchAsa
    July 2, 2009

    Hoorah to you Sir! Well deserved, chip chip and all that.
    Seriously, nice to see there are others out there with good taste who know a Talent when they read him. Sounds like a wonderful and at the same time surreal evening.

    I’m not sure what it says when a journalism award so spectacularly misspell your name twice! Hilarious.

    Keep up the great work.

  21. #21 abibrown
    July 2, 2009

    Congrats Edmundo! It’s great to have your talent radiating through the office ;o)

  22. #22 Richard
    July 2, 2009

    Ummm, congratulations again. Wish I could think of something original to say. Fried numerological triage. I guess that’ll have to do.

  23. #23 Paul
    July 2, 2009

    Congratulations ED, it’s nice to see that we’re not the only ones who think that your writing is great!

  24. #24 no1uno
    July 2, 2009

    Well deserved award. I loved the background information that you shared. It put the award into sharp perspective and provide a couple belly laughs this morning. I hope this award is a being of a life long trend. Keep writing!

  25. #25 Ian
    July 2, 2009

    You earned it, Ed!

  26. #26 bric
    July 2, 2009

    Congratulations Yong sin sang! When’s the TV series?

  27. #27 Anna K.
    July 2, 2009

    Well deserved!!

  28. #28 Al
    July 2, 2009

    Congratulations! I can certainly sympathize with the name mistake. My name (Young) has been changed into your name (Yong) a few times, although I get Jung more often.

  29. #29 Erin
    July 2, 2009

    Absolutely deserved. Congratulations x 10!

  30. #30 Diggitt
    July 2, 2009

    You didn’t just win it. You earned it.

  31. #31 Subramanyam
    July 2, 2009

    Hearty Congragulations. You deserve it.

  32. #32 Zach Miller
    July 2, 2009

    Well done, Ed! You certainly earned it–NERS is one of my favorite Scienceblogs.

  33. #33 May
    July 2, 2009

    Congratulations! :D

  34. #34 Rick MacPherson
    July 2, 2009

    whether yong, wong, or young, much deserved congrats

  35. #35 Henry
    July 2, 2009

    The look on your face as it dawned on you you’d won… priceless. Congrats dude – chuffed for you. H

  36. #36 Lilian Nattel
    July 2, 2009

    Congratulations and well deserved!

  37. #37 NeuroWhoa
    July 2, 2009

    Congratulations, it couldn’t have gone to a better guy. :)

  38. #38 Dennis
    July 2, 2009

    Look at you, Mr. Big Shot! Couldn’t have been a better selection. Congratulations.

  39. #39 sanmccarron
    July 2, 2009

    Congratulations!

  40. #40 fran├žoise ibarrondo
    July 3, 2009

    congratulations, ed: we are a lot, all over the world, to begin each day by reading your blog and wandering how you do so much work. fran├žoise from paris

  41. #41 Abel Pharmboy
    July 3, 2009

    “Behind every great man is a great woman.”

    Congratulations and thank you, Alice, for providing Ed with the inspiration and support to bring his gifts to us.

  42. #42 John S. Wilkins
    July 3, 2009

    Well done and well deserved, Ed.

  43. #43 bioephemera
    July 3, 2009

    This is awesome, and really very well-deserved indeed. Congratulations!

    I had just recently recommended you to a press officer as an awesome blogger-journalist – I think I may have to email him again and say “see? I told you this guy was good!”

  44. #44 lex
    July 3, 2009

    you certainly do deserve it. congratulations.

  45. #45 Stephen
    July 4, 2009

    Congratulations!

    You continue to be one of the most accessible writers of science around, and I am always touting your work with my kids and other science teachers. I’m looking forward to going home the UK for a break next week and reading it in paper form.

    Great job, well earned.

    Steve.
    http://sciencevideos.wordpress.com

  46. #46 Carren
    July 5, 2009

    Wow – Great News. I recently came across NERS so still got loads of previous entries to read :) Your blog is interesting and easy to read, with a great variety of subjects. Congrats from South Africa

  47. #47 The Ridger
    July 5, 2009

    Congratulations, Ed! It’s well deserved. My father has your book and has enjoyed reading it.