Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences at Penn State, has been selected as the 2022 recipient of the Leo Szilard Lectureship Award from the American Physical Society. The award recognizes outstanding accomplishments by physicists in promoting the use of physics for the benefit of society in such areas as the environment, arms control and science policy.
Mann is being recognized with the Leo Szilard Lectureship Award “for distinguished contributions to the public's understanding of climate science controversies, and to how our individual and collective actions can mitigate climate change.” He will receive the award in April at the APS March Meeting in New York.
The lecture format is intended to increase the visibility of those who have promoted the use of physics for the benefit of society. As the award-winner, Mann will give lectures at an APS meeting and at two or more educational institutions or research laboratories over the next year.
“I'm truly humbled to receive this award, because it both recognizes my physics roots and honors something I value so greatly, the use of physics for the benefit of society,” said Mann. “I am greatly indebted to my nominator, the awards committee and the APS for this honor.”
Mann, who directs the Earth System Science Center at Penn State, is a recognized expert on climate science. His research focuses on climate change, including impacts of climate change on extreme weather events, coastal risk, human health and water resources, as well as climate modeling, climate signal detection and paleoclimatoloy.
Mann communicates about the effects of climate change through a variety of media, including his books, "Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change," "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines," "The Madhouse Effect," for which he teamed up with Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Tom Toles to explore public perception of climate change, and "The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet," published in January 2021.
Mann has received many awards for science communication. In 2018, he received the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union and the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2017, he received the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication from Climate One.
Mann, the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, has been recognized for his scientific work with many awards, including the 2019 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the premier international award for environmental science. In 2020, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
Mann is a fellow of the Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union.
Mann also holds joint appointments in Penn State's Earth and Environmental Systems Institute and Department of Geosciences. He received his undergraduate degrees in physics and applied math from the University of California, Berkeley, and his master’s degree in physics and doctorate in geology and geophysics from Yale University.
The Leo Szilard award was established in 1974 by the Forum on Physics and Society as a memorial to physicist Leo Szilard in recognition of his concern for the social consequences of science. The award was endowed in 1998 by donations from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and individuals. It also was expanded to a lectureship format to promote awareness of the application of physics to social problems and to increase the visibility of those engaged in such activities.
The APS is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents more than 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States.