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A Rising Star

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Nothing is quite as surreal in science as watching America’s top geophysicists boogie to a cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” But Nature jumped down the rabbit hole last night and joined the fun at the American Geophysical Union’s awards banquet, where journalist Roberta Kwok was honored for her feature story “The Rock that Fell to Earth,” which ran in Nature last year.

Kwok’s article told the tale of researchers who tracked an asteroid from the moment it was first spotted in space to the time, months later, when scientists found fragments of the extraterrestrial body strewn across the Nubian desert in Sudan. The article won the geophysical union’s Walter Sullivan journalism award for feature writing.

This week, Meteoritics and Planetary Science published a series of new papers describing the discovery and analysis of the asteroid, known as 2008 TC3.

When she wrote the piece, Kwok was an intern in Nature’s Washington, DC, office. She is now a freelance writer in the Bay area and has written several other articles for Nature, including a profile of synthetic biologists Ham Smith and Clyde Hutchison. It is unusual for an intern to win a major writing award, and Kwok’s achievement is a testament to her skills as both a reporter and a writer.

The AGU also honored Pallava Bagla of Science for his news article last year that examined inaccuracies in a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Both stories are well worth reading and Nature salutes the two writers for their achievements.

Photo of Roberta Kwok and Peter Jenniskens, of the SETI Institute, who discovered the fragments of 2008TC3 in the desert. In front of them is a piece of the meteorite.

Image courtesy of Roberta Kwok


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