Carl Sagan Medal for Excellence in Public Communication in Planetary Science

Sagan Front Sagan Back

Image of Carl Sagan copied with permission from a photograph by Alexander Tsiaras.

The Carl Sagan Medal (“Sagan Medal”) recognizes and honors outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public. It is to be awarded to scientists whose efforts have significantly contributed to a public understanding of, and enthusiasm for, planetary science. Criteria for consideration and selection include but are not limited to:

1. Impact and significance of communication activities: The candidate should be engaged in communication with evidence of success reaching the intended audience, a broad or deep reach, use of ground-breaking or innovative techniques, and/or impact on national, international or non-traditional audiences. 

2. Elevating science in the eyes of the public: The candidate’s communication shows the importance and relevance of science to critical audiences, creates common ground and connects the science to the audience’s lives, and/or effectively communicates complex topics.  

3. Ethics: The candidate for nomination is expected to follow the AAS Code of Ethics ( and the nomination letter should include a statement to that effect.

For additional Nomination information, see also here

The Sagan Medal will consist of a medal with citation, and a cash award in an amount to be determined by the DPS Committee. The recipient of the Sagan Medal is expected to present a public lecture on a subject in planetary science of their choosing. The lecture will normally be given to an interested public audience at a venue separate from the annual DPS meeting. The specific venue will be arranged by the recipient and the DPS committee.

All DPS members are encouraged to submit nominations for the Sagan Medal.

Sagan Medal Winners

2022Caleb Scharf
2021Nicolle Zellner
2021Adam Frank
2020Ray Jayawardhana
2019Carrie Nugent
2018Bonnie J. Buratti
2017Megan Schwamb
2017Henry Throop
2016Yong-Chun Zheng
2015Dan Durda
2014Guy Consolmagno
2013Donald K. Yeomans
2012Patrick Michel
2011James Bell
2010Carolyn C. Porco
2009Steven W. Squyres
2008G. Jeffrey Taylor
2007no award
2006David H. Grinspoon
2005Rosaly Lopes
2004David Morrison
2003no award
2002Heidi B. Hammel
2001Andre Brahic
2000Larry A. Lebofsky
1999Clark R. Chapman
1998William K. Hartmann