Astronomer Geoff Marcy, Earth's Premier Planet Hunter, Wins Carl Sagan Prize

STANFORD and BERKELEY, Calif., Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Geoff Marcy, Earth's foremost discoverer of planets outside our solar system, has won the 2009 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. The award recognizes Marcy's "exceptional contributions to the public understanding of science."

Marcy, 55, an astronomer at the University of California's Berkeley campus, will receive the award on November 7 at the Stanford University venue of Wonderfest 2009, the San Francisco Bay Area Festival of Science.

The Carl Sagan Prize is awarded annually by the trustees of Wonderfest, and includes an unrestricted gift of $5000.

Marcy is most famous for discovering, with collaborators R. Paul Butler and Debra Fischer, 70 out of the first 100 so-called "exoplanets," planets orbiting stars that lie far beyond our solar system.

However, the Sagan Prize celebrates Marcy's great success in making his discoveries accessible to the public.

"Geoff has always worked very hard to make his findings, and those of others in the field, clearly comprehensible to general audiences," writes San Francisco Chronicle senior science editor David Perlman.

Upon learning of his selection as Wonderfest's 8th recipient of the Sagan Prize, Marcy exclaimed (via email to Wonderfest creator and director Tucker Hiatt), "Wow! This is such a high honor. I can't believe it!"

Marcy continued: "I am especially happy to receive Wonderfest's Sagan Prize. Wonderfest is not the biggest science festival in America, but it is the oldest and, perhaps, the most venerable. Wonderfest takes very seriously Carl Sagan's call to encourage researchers to help the public understand."

Wonderfest is dedicated to the memory of world-renowned astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan.

Wonderfest, established in 1997, is produced as a public service by the Branson School, an independent high school in Marin County, California. Wonderfest is co-sponsored by Branson, the Stanford Chemistry Department, the UC Berkeley Physics Department, and the Planetary Society.

Wonderfest's Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization is generously underwritten by Annual Reviews as a tribute to their President and Editor-in-Chief, Samuel Gubins.


    Tucker Hiatt
    (415) 577-1126

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SOURCE Wonderfest


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