Monitor journalist honored

The American Geophysical Union has named its award for sustained achievement in science journalism for Robert C. Cowen, who served for 45 years as the Monitor's science correspondent and science editor.

Mr. Cowen will become the first recipient of the award - which will be issued no more frequently than every two years - at a dinner this evening during the AGU's spring meeting in Boston.

The American Geophysical Union is an international scientific society with more than 35,000 members in 115 countries. For more than 75 years, AGU researchers, teachers, and science administrators have dedicated themselves to advancing the understanding of Earth and its environment in space and making the results available to the public.

Widely considered one of the pioneers of post-war science journalism, Cowen served as science writer and science editor at the Monitor from 1950 to 1995, with time out for a four-year stint as senior editor for features.

Cowen has won many science-writing awards, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science-Westinghouse award, the American Chemical Society's Grady Medal (now Grady-Stack), and the American Institute of Physics science-writing award. He also has served as president of the National Association of Science Writers.

Cowen majored in atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, where he received his bachelor and master of science degrees in 1949 and 1950. Some of his most memorable coverage focused on the early days of NASA's space programs, where he covered launches first-hand.

Although he had hoped to be the first journalist in space, Bob has helped to nurture two generations of science writers, encouraging them to be ready for a place on that first flight. Since his "retirement" in 1995, Cowen has continued to write about science for the Monitor under contract. He lives in Concord, Mass., with his wife, Mary, numerous squirrels, an occasional bat, and a larder full of Jalapenos.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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