Alison Gopnik Has Been Awarded the 2021 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization

Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a world-renowned expert in child development and author of several popular books, has won the 2021 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. The prize is awarded by Wonderfest, a San Francisco Bay Area-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting scientific curiosity and discovery. It was launched in 1997, shortly after the death of American astronomer Carl Sagan. The annual prize recognizes researchers who “have contributed mightily to the public understanding and appreciation of science.”

Professor Gopnik is a developmental psychologist whose research explores how young children come to know about the world around them. She is the author or co-author of The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life (Picador, 2010), The Scientist in the Crib: Minds, Brains, And How Children Learn (William Morrow, 1999), and How Babies Think: The Science of Childhood (Orion Publishing, 2001).

“This is a moment when it’s more important than ever before for scientists to communicate to the public, and Wonderfest is a great institution that plays a major role in the public understanding of science,” Professor Gopnik said. “I’m delighted and honored to receive this prize.”

Dr. Gopnik joined the Berkeley faculty in 1988. She is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal and holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Oxford in England.

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