The Stephen Jay Gould Prize

Mr. Carl Zimmer

The Stephen Jay Gould Prize is awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize individuals whose sustained and exemplary efforts have advanced public understanding of evolutionary science and its importance in biology, education, and everyday life in the spirit of Stephen Jay Gould.

The winner of the 2016 Stephen Jay Gould Prize is Carl Zimmer. For more than two decades, Carl Zimmer has written about topics in science, but he is especially known for his writings in biology, partiularly evolutionary science. These include regular columns in the New York (Science) Times, and two leading textbooks in our field. Zimmer has authored, co-authored, or edited 13 books aimed at communicating the thrill and relevance of evolution, biology, and medicine to wide audiences. Most recently, Carl has extended his audience to include college students. He first authored a popular non- major’s textbook The Tangled Bank (Roberts & Company, 2009). Edward O. Wilson called this "the best written and best illustrated introduction to evolution of the Darwin centennial decade, and also the most conversant with ongoing research. Zimmer is also co-author of Evolution: Making Sense of Life (Roberts & Company, 2012), a majors level textbook that been met with acclaim by many evolutionary biologists. Zimmer is equally at home in media beyond print. He was an advisor for the History Channel program Evolve (2008), assisted in the NSF museum project Exploring Evolution, and hosts a bi-weekly podcast Meet the Scientist. Since 2003, he has written a regular blog—The Loom—devoted to emerging topics in evolution, which has been named by Nature as one of the five top science blogs on the Internet. Zimmer is not only a master of science writing in traditional media, but he has been a pioneer in exploring the possibilities of Internet media. Evolutionary biology is fortunate to have such a writer as Zimmer on the science beat.

Carl will deliver the Gould Award lecture at Friday evening, June 17 at the Austin Convention Center. It is free and open to the public. Later in the year the lecture will appear on this page.


The 2016 Stephen Jay Gould Prize Committee

Louise Mead, Chair
Karin Pfennig
Kelly Dyer   
Michael Antolin


Stephen J. Gould Prize recipients and presentations:

2015, Francisco Ayala |


2012, David Quammen |


2009, Dr. Eugenie C. Scott |
2014, Dr. Steve Jones |


2011, Dr. Kenneth R. Miller |
2013, Judith G. Scotchmoor |


2010, Dr. Sean B. Carroll |


Nomination/Application for the 2017 Stephen J. Gould Prize are open September 1, 2016 through January 15, 2017

The Society for the Study of Evolution’s Committee for the Stephen J. Gould Prize for the Improvement of the Understanding of Evolution is soliciting nominations for the Award for 2017. With this annual award the Society for the Study of Evolution recognizes, promotes, and rewards individuals who have increased public understanding of evolutionary biology and its place in modern science. The award will include a cash prize of $5,000 and the expectation that the recipient will present the Public Outreach Seminar at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution (expenses for travel/lodging and registration would be covered by the SSE). The awardee should be a leader in evolutionary thought and in public outreach who can deliver an inspiring lecture for both professionals and the broader public at the 2017 meetings of the Society in Portland, Oregon.

Nominations should include the CV of the nominee along with a 1-2 page letter describing why this individual is worthy of the award.

Please send nominations via e-mail to the Chair of the Committee, Louise Mead, at Please submit nominees by January 15, 2017. All nominations will be treated confidentially and will be evaluated by members of the Committee and the Council for the Society. An awardee will be announced in mid-February.