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A cherry tree blooms near a bridge in a public garden.

Photograph by Eliza Scidmore

If complex ideas and information aren't made relevant and accessible, important scientific facts and findings can get lost in the din of the day-to-day. National Geographic’s strength lies in the unique combination of science and storytelling. The newly established Eliza Scidmore Award recognizes a special individual whose work combines scientific rigor and immersive storytelling to advance our understanding of the environmental and conservation issues we face—with the ultimate goal of empowering societies to make the best decisions for a healthier planet. The award is named for writer and photographer Eliza Scidmore who, in 1892, was the first woman elected to the National Geographic board.

2018 Awardee

Carolyn Porco

She’s a rock star of the science world. As the leader of the imaging science team on the Cassini mission in orbit around Saturn from 2004 to 2017, a veteran imaging scientist of the Voyager mission to the outer solar system in the 1980s, and an associate member of the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, Carolyn Porco has earned that rock-star status. But her influence goes beyond the disciplines of space science. She ignites imaginations by bringing the public along on her scientific journeys—engaging them though the Captain’s Log on the Cassini team’s website, amazing them through iconic photographs, such as the famous Pale Blue Dot image of Earth taken with the Voyager 1 spacecraft, and broadening horizons through highly compelling presentations on television and radio.