WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2023 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) announces Christopher M. Reddy as the recipient of the James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public. Reddy is being honored for communicating the value of environmental chemistry to diverse audiences and building connections between the scientific community and societal stakeholders.
Reddy, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, studies the degradation of chemicals and plastics in the ocean from shipping accidents, dumping and oil spills, such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He is also pioneering the development of biofuels and the replacement of hydrocarbons from fossil fuels in personal care products with chemicals from marine algae. His current emphasis is the design of safer and more sustainable plastics through ongoing collaborations with his colleagues and the chemical industry. Reddy received a B.S. in chemistry from Rhode Island College and a Ph.D. in chemical oceanography from the University of Rhode Island. He has earned certificates from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the MIT Sloan School of Management.
This ACS award is presented annually to recognize, encourage and stimulate outstanding reporting directly to the public, with the aim of materially increasing the public’s knowledge and understanding of chemistry, chemical engineering and related fields.
Reddy exemplifies the spirit of the award through his efforts to bridge the gap between scientific researchers and the public. His recently published “Science Communication in a Crisis: An Insider’s Guide” discusses his career experiences as a way to help scientists navigate conversations amid an emergency. Reddy is renowned as a trusted source among journalists, policymakers and government agencies, yet his influence extends beyond academic circles. He has been an advocate for incorporating scientific reasoning into societal discussions, fostering public understanding of chemistry and equipping fellow scientists with practical communication skills.
“Chris excels in elucidating the ‘how,’ ‘what,’ ‘why’ and ‘what’s next?’ in engaging, clear and bias-free ways,” says David L. Valentine, distinguished professor of geochemistry and microbiology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Reddy’s impact resonates through his efforts to cultivate the next generation of science communicators. His collaboration on a biennial science communication course, “How Not to Write for Peer-Reviewed Journals: Talking to Everyone Else,” has equipped graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and early-career chemists with essential communication skills. His commitment to education ensures a legacy of effective science communication.
Throughout his career, Reddy’s expertise has been sought after through more than 500 interviews, ranging from local publications to international news outlets. His contributions extend beyond media engagements, encompassing op-ed articles for national publications, TED talks and testimonies before legislative bodies.
“I am deeply honored to receive the Grady-Stack Award,” says Reddy. “It has cemented my resolve to provide clear, timely and actionable insights on the ocean’s chemistry and how it responds to pollution.”
The Grady-Stack award consists of $5,000, a medallion and a certificate. The award will be presented to Reddy at the national awards ceremony at ACS Spring 2024 in New Orleans.
Nominations for the 2025 Grady-Stack award are being accepted through Nov. 1, 2023. A nominee must have made noteworthy presentations through a medium of public communication to increase the American public’s understanding of chemistry and chemical progress. The award will be granted regardless of race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, presence of disabilities and educational background.