October 1, 2003
Contact: Perle M. Dorr (703) 379-2480


Science Writer Ron Redfern to Receive Award
for Outstanding Contribution to Public Understanding
of the Geosciences

ALEXANDRIA, VA - The American Geological Institute (AGI) has named popular science writer, photographer, and filmmaker Ron Redfern as the 2003 recipient of its prestigious Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Understanding of the Geosciences. The award will be presented during the AGI Past Presidents Dinner on Sunday, November 2, 2003, at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers in Seattle, Washington. "Through his books and related television productions, Ron Redfern has popularized and revealed the story of Earth's evolution to millions of people," said Marcus E. Milling, AGI Executive Director. "AGI is proud to recognize him for these very significant accomplishments."

    Ron Redfern is an award-winning author and illustrator of natural science books for the general public. His first book, the highly acclaimed Corridors of Time, was published in 1980 and provides an overview of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau. In his second book, The Making of a Continent, Redfern uses clear language accompanied by spectacular photographs to introduce the reader to the geologic processes that form the natural physical features of North America and how these features affected human activity over the centuries. This book was the basis for a six-part PBS/BBC Peabody Award-winning television series of the same name, originated by Redfern in the1980s. In his most recent book, Origins: The Evolution of Continents, Oceans and Life, Redfern draws upon recent discoveries in Earth system science to present the known causes and consequences of global change over the past 700 million years.

    As a science writer, Redfern has received a number of literary and academic awards. In 1995, he was presented with the American Institute of Professional Geologists' Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his 20-year contribution to the public understanding of science. He also is the recipient of two Journalism Awards from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists - the first one in 1983 for Corridors of Time and the second one earlier this year for Origins.

    Until the mid-1970s, Redfern, a biochemist, was founder-chairman of a Swiss-based consulting company specializing in the automation of food and pharmaceutical production for European and American companies. He underwent a personal metamorphosis when he 'retired' in 1975.

    During frequent visits to the U.S., Redfern was captivated by both the spectacle and the history of the American Southwest. He decided to share his growing interest in geomorphology and its human interface by writing and illustrating books on this subject for non-specialists like himself. Redfern lived and worked in Denver, Colorado, for many years, but returned permanently to England in 1996.

    The AGI Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Understanding of the Geosciences was established in 1985 and is presented annually to a person, organization, or institution in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the public understanding of geology. The contribution may be in geology as a science or in geology as it relates to economic or environmental aspects of modern civilization. The award may be given to a geologist or non-geologist, or to an organization or an institution that is geologic or non-geologic in character. Recipients in the recent past include Richard S. Fiske, John Noble Wilford, Esther and Sherwood Tuttle and Ann Harris, and M. Dane "Duke" Picard.

    The American Geological Institute is a nonprofit federation of 41 scientific and professional associations that represent more than 100,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources and interaction with the environment. More information about AGI can be found at The Institute also provides a public-outreach web site,

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