Woods Hole, Mass. — Christopher Reddy, Senior Scientist in the Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has been awarded the 2024 James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The award recognizes individuals who “materially increase the public’s knowledge of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related fields.”
Reddy 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.
The high-profile nature of his work has led Reddy to focus on communicating his findings with the public, journalists, public safety officers, elected officials, and business people. He has given hundreds of media interviews, testified before Congressional committees five times, written more than 40 opinion pieces, and recently published the book, Science Communication in a Crisis: An Insider’s Guide.
“Chris is a rare combination of top-notch scientist and consummate communicator,” said Richard Murray, WHOI Deputy Director and Vice President for Science and Engineering. “It’s gratifying to see his hard work and commitment to improving public knowledge of human impacts on the ocean recognized in this way.”
Reddy joins a distinguished list of chemists, journalists, authors, and educators who have received the award since it was first made in 1957. Previous recipients include Nobel Prize winner Roald Hoffman, biochemist turned science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, actor and science communication champion Alan Alda, and TV host Don Herbert (a.k.a., Mr. Wizard).
“I am deeply honored to receive the Stack Award,” said Reddy. “It has cemented my resolve to provide clear, timely, and actionable insights on the ocean’s chemistry and how it responds to pollution.”
He will receive the award at the ACS spring 2024 meeting in New Orleans.