August 21, 2007

Web Writer for APS Wins Acoustical Society Writing Award

Don Monroe, a freelance science journalist from Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, is the first to win the Acoustical Society of America's newest science writing prize. His award-winning article, "Why the Inner Ear is Snail-Shaped," was published in APS's online magazine Physical Review Focus in 2006.

The new award is for science writing in media other than traditional print. Submissions in this category included podcasts, TV broadcasts, and online submissions.

The article explains how the curled shape of the inner ear contributes to better hearing.

Monroe's entry was the winner because he "explained a very complex physical phenomenon in clear, concise language," said Dr. Joe Posey, the chair of the science writing awards judging committee.

Monroe has written physics-related content since 2004. He graduated from MIT with a PhD in physics in 1985 and worked as a scientist in semiconductor computer chip research. He attended New York University's Science and Environmental Reporting Program and then began his second career in science journalism.

"His combination of 20 years' experience as a physicist and a degree in science journalism are a really rare and valuable contribution," said Dr. David Ehrenstein, the editor of Physical Review Focus.

Monroe will receive a $1000 prize and an award certificate, which will be presented at the 2007 ASA Fall Meeting, to be held in New Orleans in November.

The Acoustical Society of America is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. For more information about the Society visit


About APS

The American Physical Society ( is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents over 51,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, DC.

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