• Sean M. Carroll

Sean Carroll Brings Physics to the Masses

Sean Carroll, a senior research associate in physics at Caltech, has won the 2014 Andrew Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics. The award honors "significant contributions to the cultural, artistic, or humanistic dimensions of physics"—in Carroll's case, "extraordinary public outreach on particle physics and cosmology . . . and for his pioneering work communicating with a variety of international audiences using social networking."

"Science should be part of the regular conversation that people have over dinner, along with sports and movies and politics," Carroll says. "The universe belongs to everybody, and we can all share in the quest to understand it."

Between blogging, tweeting, appearing on The Colbert Report and NOVA, and writing books chronicling the hunt for the Higgs boson or exploring why time only flows in one direction, Carroll spends his days as a theoretical physicist coming up with alternative theories of gravity and constructing mathematical models of the interactions between the ordinary matter that we perceive and the unseen "dark matter" and "dark energy" that, taken together, are believed to account for 95 percent of the universe's mass.

Previous awardees include Edwin Krupp, director of Los Angeles's Griffith Observatory; Paula Apsell, senior executive producer of NOVA; and Stephen Hawking.

Carroll will receive the award on January 5, 2015 at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego's Balboa Park and deliver a public lecture.

Written by Douglas Smith