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Piers Sellers wins prestigious Space Foundation Lifetime Space Achievement award

In the media
Press release

Leeds alumnus, three times Space Shuttle Astronaut, Climate Scientist, Deputy Director of Goddard’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate and all round Priestley Centre hero, Piers Sellers has been selected to receive the Space Foundation 2017 General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award.

Sellers was nominated for the award by British space journalist and broadcaster Sarah Cruddas, with endorsement by British media personality Carol Vorderman MBE and former NASA astronauts Garrett Reisman, Kenneth Ham, Michael Good and Gregory Johnson.

In nominating Sellers, Cruddas wrote:

“The world needs more people like Piers. His global service to communicating the nature of climate change and why action matters, goes above and beyond his normal job responsibilities. From his numerous appearances on TV and radio, including on the iconic British TV show The Sky at Night, to writing articles for the general public about climate science, he attracted international respect. In April 2016, while terminally ill, he was interviewed by Leonardo Dicaprio for his documentary Before the Flood. Piers discussed the different missions NASA has underway to study changes in the Earth’s atmosphere, water and land masses.

On a personal note, when I met Piers and interviewed him at Royal Society in London, England, he inspired me so much, that I returned to pursuing my dreams of space. In February this year he even wrote a piece for my children’s book about being an astronaut. I won’t be the only person Piers has inspired. He has given talks in Rugby stadiums full of people and inspired young and old working with the International Space School Education Trust. His announcement to the world about his ‘foreshortened horizon’, came in the form of a piece in the New York Times titled ‘Cancer and Climate Change’. Not moaning about his situation, but using it to tell the world why we must continue to study, understand and develop technology to combat climate change.”

In announcing the selection of Sellers, Space Foundation Board Chairman ADM James O. Ellis, Jr., USN (Ret.), said, “Dr. Sellers is an incredibly accomplished and highly regarded scientist, astronaut and author who has made superb contributions to his science, been a treasured friend and teammate to his astronaut colleagues, and, quietly and professionally, through his observation and study of our planet, benefited us all. He has spent much of his professional life studying our Earth’s climate and has devoted himself to analyzing and communicating the nature of climate change and why action matters. Dr Sellers is an incredibly optimistic man with tremendous faith in people and their ability to bring about positive change. We are honored to have the opportunity to recognize him for his lifetime of achievement.”

Congratulations to Piers Sellers. The Priestley Centre is proud to have our annual Piers Sellers prizes, which recognise exceptional research that furthers our understanding of climate change and how to address it, named in Piers’ honour.

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