MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing
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Congratulations to Robert M. Davis for winning the first place Obermayer Prize for Writing for the Public. Dedicated to honoring published graduate student writing that breaks down tough, technical topics for lay readers in an engaging way, the accolade is one of several Ilona Karmel Writing Prizes offered by MIT and comes with a $2,000 award. 

Robert’s piece Owl Anatomy Could Help Engineers Make Aircraft More Stable in Windy Conditions details how research on a barn owl named Lily led to a better understanding of how birds maintain stability while flying in windy conditions. The research, conducted by an interdisciplinary team from the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College and the University of Bristol, focused on a hinge design built into the owl’s shoulder. Similar designs could help small aircrafts and drones maintain steady flight in turbulent conditions. 

Robert joins a growing list of GPSW students who have won Obermayer awards. In recent years, Ashley Belanger, ’20; Laura Castañón, ’18; Francesca Schembri, ’18; and Sarah Schwartz, ’15, have all landed awards or recognition from the Obermayer Prize committee. 

You can read about all of the Ilona Karmel Writing Prize recipients here. Congratulations, Robert!