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June 12, 2008

American Scientist Magazine Wins Two SNAP EXCEL Awards

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - As the U.S. goes through yet another scare over contaminated produce, this time involving an outbreak of Salmonella in tomatoes, an article called "Safer Salads" from American Scientist magazine has won a major award from the Society of National Association Publications (SNAP).

The award-winning article addresses why produce contaminated by E. coli and other pathogens is more common than ever, and what consumers can do to protect themselves.

The authors conclude with a discussion of best practices from the field to the table and describe new research into post-harvest treatments that may minimize consumer risk in the near future. The full text of the article, from the November-December 2007 issue of the magazine, is available online.

American Scientist is the bimonthly, illustrated magazine of science and technology published by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.

The authors of "Safer Salads," Jorge M. Fonseca and Sadhana Ravishankar, are specialists in the field of microbiological crop-safety research. Fonseca is a professor and vegetable/post-harvest specialist at the University of Arizona's Yuma Agricultural Center, and Ravishankar is a research professor in veterinary science and microbiology at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

"'Safer Salads' points out that produce contamination, while in the news sporadically, is more common than many people realize," said David Schoonmaker, acting editor of American Scientist. "We should be exercising caution at all times. There are things we can do to reduce the risks."

The article received a Bronze EXCEL Award in the Feature Article category. The cover of the September-October 2007 issue of American Scientist also won a Silver EXCEL Award in the Cover Illustration category.

The cover was created by Martin Krzywinski of Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, for an article called "Genetics and the Shape of Dogs" by Elaine A. Ostrander. Ostrander is chief of the Cancer Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

The circular diagram depicts some of the overlapping patterns discovered in the dog and human genomes after the dog genome was fully sequenced in 2005. Selected human (top, blue outer band) and dog (bottom, orange outer band) chromosomes are arranged around the circle, with bands connecting regions of homology between the two species.

"The cover graphic is a dramatic visual representation of some of the chromosomal connections between the dog and human genomes," Schoonmaker said. "It helps readers understand how physical differences between dogs and humans, and between one dog and another, can be so large, even though they share much genetically."

The 28th annual SNAP EXCEL Awards were presented June 10 during a dinner in Washington, D.C.

SNAP is a non-profit, professional society serving the needs of association publishers and communications professionals. The annual EXCEL awards program judges more than 1,000 magazines, newsletters, scholarly journals, electronic publications and Web sites in the areas of editorial quality, design, general excellence, most improved and more.

American Scientist traces its origin back to 1913. Each issue is filled with feature articles written by prominent scientists and engineers, reviewing important work in fields that range from molecular biology to computer engineering. The articles are carefully edited and accompanied by illustrations that are developed to enhance the reader's understanding and enjoyment.

Readers also enjoy the Scientists' Bookshelf and a number of regular columns that cover topics in computing, engineering, public and professional issues and reflections on the history and practice of science.

In the Science Observer section, the editors give the readers glimpses behind the scenes in science. And each issue includes the work of noted cartoonists such as Sydney Harris, Benita Epstein and Mark Heath.

In recent years American Scientist has been honored with many awards for editorial, design and illustration quality. Read faithfully by Sigma Xi's membership of distinguished scientists and engineers, the magazine is now available on newsstands around the world, as well as by individual or institutional subscription.

American Scientist Online, an online service incorporating the full content of the print magazine and additional online-only features, was launched in May 2003 to extend the mission that had been served by the magazine's Web site since 1995. Full access to the site is provided without additional charge to Sigma Xi members and other individual magazine subscribers, and to institutional subscribers who arrange site licenses.

Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is the international honor society of research scientists and engineers, with more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities, government laboratories and industry research centers. Membership is by invitation, in recognition of research potential or achievement. Over the years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members have received the Nobel Prize. In addition to publishing American Scientist, the non-profit Society awards hundreds of grants annually to student researchers and sponsors a variety of programs that support science and engineering.


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