Senator John Heinz


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  • John Luther Adams writes about Alaska and his new work, Become Desert, for Slate go >>
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  • Jacques d'Amboise and an event on 'Balanchine's Guys' is profiled by New York Times go >>
  • Nadine Burke Harris is interviewed about her work on childhood trauma by The New York Times go >>
  • The Los Angeles Times reviews Dave Egger's new book, The Monk of Mokha go >>
  • Nadine Burke Harris is profiled on NPR about her work and new book, The Deepest Well go >>
  • Paul Farmer is awarded the National Academy of Sciences' 2018 Public Welfare Award go >>
  • A 2014 stage adaptation of Natasha Trethewey’s poetry collection, Native Guard, is performed at the Atlanta History Center go >>
  • Sal Khan is named 2018 Visionary of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle go >>
  • The New York Times looks at how some U.S. prisons have restricted prisoner access to Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow go >>
  • Freeman Hrabowski talks to The Baltimore Sun about being inspired to march as a teenager by Martin Luther King Jr. go >>
  • Bruce Katz co-authors a new book, The New Localism, on the evolving importance of metropolitan areas go >>
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  • Politico profiles Dean Kamen’s work on the ARMI Initiative for regenerative organ medicine go >>
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  • Sangeeta Bhatia is profiled in Brown University's alumni magazine go >>
  • John Holdren to receive the 2018 Moynihan Prize from The American Academy of Political and Social Science go >>
  • The Wall Street Journal profiles Joseph DeSimone's 3D printing company, Carbon, and its partnership with Adidas go >>
  • Mason Bates is named Musical America's 2018 Composer of the Year go >>
  • Steve Wozniak to launch Woz U, an education program to help people enter into the tech workforce go >>
  • Jacques d'Amboise is interviewed on the Leonard Lopate Show go >>
  • Roz Chast's relationship to NYC is profiled in The New York Times go >>
  • Jerry Franklin and his ideas for new forestry practices are profiled in Science go >>
  • Greg Asner is interviewed by NPR's Living On Earth go >>
  • Mona Hanna-Attisha is interviewed by WESA public radio in Pittsburgh go >>
  • Rita Dove is profiled as one of TIME Firsts: Women Leaders Who Are Changing the World go >>
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  • The Los Angeles Times explores John Luther Adams’ new art installation at UC San Diego go >>
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  • Dean Kamen launches BioFabUSA to aggregate technologies for creating human tissue and organs go >>
  • John Harbison is profiled by the Wisconsin Gazette go >>
  • Janine Benyus and her work is profiled on the 20th anniversary of her book, “Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature” go >>
  • NPR explores the creation of Mason Bates' first opera, The (R)evolution Of Steve Jobs go >>
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  • John Luther Adams' music gets a five-day festival courtesy of SFJAZZ go >>
  • Hugh Herr and his work is profiled in a BBC News article on prosthetics go >>
  • Aaron Wolf is interviewed by The Texas Tribune go >>
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  • Roz Chast is profiled in The Daily Beast go >>
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  • Frederica Perera writes OpEd piece on prenatal environmental risks for The New York Times go >>
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  • Freeman Hrabowski is profiled in The New York Times' Corner Office series go >>
  • Leila Janah is profiled in The New York Times' Corner Office series go >>
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  • Elizabeth Kolbert receives the 2017 Blake-Dodd Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters go >>
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  • Millie Dresselhaus, pioneering scientist and 11th Heinz Award recipient for Technology and the Economy, dies at 86 go >>
  • Jane Lubchenco is awarded the National Academy of Sciences' 2017 Public Welfare Award go >>
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  • Leroy Hood is the 2017 recipient of National Academy of Sciences Award for Chemistry in Service to Society go >>
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  • The New York Times reviews the new Broadway production of August Wilson's "Jitney" go >>
  • TIME publishes James Nachtwey's photographs showing The Philippine's brutal war on illegal drugs go >>
  • The New York Times' critics discuss the lasting power of August Wilson's plays go >>
  • James Hansen honored with the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Climate Change for his contributions to climate science go >>
  • Actors discuss being exposed to August Wilson's plays for The New York Times go >>
  • Nadine Burke Harris is one of The Huffington Post's "7 visionaries" for 2017 go >>
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  • Dean Kamen to lead $294M effort to grow human organs on industrial scale go >>
  • Denzel Washington's film of August Wilson's "Fences" is reviewed by the New York Times go >>
  • Jane Lubchenco, as a 2016 Oregon History Maker medal recipient, is profiled by KGW in Portland go >>
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  • Robert Langer talks about his career as part of MIT's “Failures in Graduate School” series go >>
  • John Luther Adams' "Canticles of the Holy Wind" is reviewed by The New York Times go >>
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  • Richard Jackson discusses the built environment and the need to put people first on The Tavis Smiley show go >>
  • The Wall Street Journal talks to Roz Chast about living in Manhattan in her 20s go >>
  • The Guardian profiles the work of Robert Langer go >>
  • Wired writes about Dean Kamen speaking at the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh go >>
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  • Nadine Burke Harris and her work is profiled by The Washington Post go >>
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  • Hugh Herr and his work are profiled by Strategy and Business magazine go >>
  • Matt Mullenweg is profiled by the Houston Chronicle go >>
  • Millie Dresselhaus and her career is profiled by Lehigh University go >>
  • Jacques d'Amboise profiled at 82 by The New York Observer go >>

The Heinz Awards


Florence Robinson

Florence Robinson shares the Heinz Award in the Environment for her tireless fight against industrial polluters who foul the land and threaten the health of communities with chemical and other hazardous wastes.

For more than a decade, Florence Robinson has waged a virtual one-woman war against toxic wastes. Her battlefield has been "Cancer Alley," an 80-mile strip of land along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana where low income, minority communities exist side by side with large industries.

Since she accepted a position as professor of biology at her alma mater, Southern University in the early 1970s, Ms. Robinson has lived in the small community of Alsen, near Devil's Swamp. Once an idyllic spot, Alsen was home to many newly freed slaves who, settling there after the Civil War, enjoyed cool, clean water and plentiful harvests. That ended in 1964 when an industrial "borrow" pit was opened in Alsen to dispose of hazardous waste. The area was further fouled by 11 nearby petrochemical plants, a commercial hazardous waste incinerator, and several waste landfills.

Statistics from a 1987 study by the New York Commission of Racial Justice concluded that 50 percent of the petrochemical and hazardous waste companies operating in the south do so in areas of high minority concentration. This environmental racism and the controversy surrounding it are not new, but activism in response to it is.

Ms. Robinson had a clear sense of what needed to be done. Because she would not sacrifice her home, or the health of her family and her community, her battle against environmental racism was begun. With quiet but indefatigable determination, she organized her neighbors, and demanded to be heard.

In 1993, she finally was. That year and in 1994, the Superfund Commission convened hearings bringing together Fortune 500 CEOs, national environmental leaders, legislators, and citizens who lived near at-risk sites. An unlikely advocate, Ms. Robinson emerged during those hearings as a passionate and inspiring voice for change.

In the following years, Ms. Robinson continued to pursue her goal of consensus building and understanding. She has the rare ability to articulate her concerns for her community, and, at the same time, forcefully advance the agenda of an under-represented constituency. Her fight against the racism, greed, and ignorance that contributed to the degradation of her community's health and cultural fabric yielded its first major victory in late 1997. One of the major polluters in her area agreed to stop the burning in a hazardous waste incinerator. The facility was then dismantled at the end of 1998.

After years of exposure to a disproportionate share of the worst byproducts of our technological advances, Florence Robinson said, "enough is enough" and insisted on being taken seriously. She became that most compelling of American voices, the voice of the individual who, seeing injustice and harm, dares to speak out and does so with passion, reason and conviction.

Note: This profile is excerpted from the commemorative brochure published at the time of the awards' presentation.


June 2001 - Robinson and her students on the campus of Southern University are a stop on Greenpeace's Celebrity Tour of "Cancer Alley". Robinson's hometown of nearby Alsen is one of the thousands of towns where the "quality of life has deteriorated because of the presence of industry and its pollutants," and the tour's purpose was to spotlight such areas. - The Sunday Advocate

April 2000 - Robinson is a panel member for an Earth Day celebration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The panel consisted of scientists who "discussed the gap between what science can say and the answers communities want," as well as society's "need to balance economics and environmental pollution." - The Sunday Advocate

March 1999 - Robinson joins students, activists, and statesmen in Baton Rouge to protest the burning of napalm at a local chemical plant. While much of the group was already aware of the dangers of napalm, the rally was in part conducted as an information session to publicize the hazards of napalm. - The Times-Picayune

Florence Robinson
Florence Robinson