American Humanist Association Announces 2023 Humanist Awardees

The American Humanist Association (AHA) has announced the recipients of the 2023 Humanist Awards, which will be presented at the AHA’s 82nd Annual Conference, Crossroads and Collective Futures, in Denver, Colorado, May 5th-7th.

Dr. Michael E. Mann will be honored with the Humanist of the Year Award, and Dr. Stephon Alexander will be awarded the Isaac Asimov Science Award. Both will receive their awards at a banquet at the Conference on Saturday, May 7th.

The preceding evening, Dr. David Breeden will receive the Humanist Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his long history of work in the humanist community. In a celebration of grassroots humanism, AHA chapters and local group leaders will also be recognized at the banquet on Friday, May 6th.

The annual Humanist Awards, which the AHA started giving in 1953, recognize accomplished individuals that advance humanism in science, arts, politics, and modern culture.

Dr. Michael E. Mann, 2023 Humanist of the Year

Dr. Mann, recipient of the Humanist of the Year award, is a Distinguished Professor of Earth & Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media. A world-renowned climatologist and geophysicist, Dr. Mann has made significant contributions to society’s understanding of climate change and his pioneering research has played a crucial role in shaping public discourse and climate change policy. Previous Humanist of the Year Awardees have included Anthony Fauci, Rep. Jared Huffman, Salman Rushdie, Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, and Jonas Salk, among many others.

Dr. Stephon Alexander, 2023 Isaac Asimov Science Award

Dr. Alexander, recipient of the Isaac Asimov Science Award, is a theoretical physicist, musician, and a professor at Brown University. He specializes in cosmology, particle physics, and quantum gravity. Dr. Alexander’s book, The Jazz of Physics, explores groundbreaking work on the interconnections between music and the structure of the universe. His second book, Fear of a Black Universe, examines some of physics’ greatest mysteries and makes a powerful case for diversifying scientific communities. Previous Isaac Asimov Science Awardees have included Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Steve Wozniak, Sylvia Earle, and Pamela Gay.

Rev. Dr. David Breeden, Humanist Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Breeden is the Senior Minister at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis and is committed to getting the word about humanism out to the world. A published poet and author, Dr. Breeden is also chair of the AHA’s Education Committee. Among a host of important work, he has mentored a generation of humanist leaders. Previous Humanist Distinguished Service Awardees have included Stephen Jay Gould, Marian Wright Edelman, Edd Doerr, and Rep. Jamie Raskin.

The AHA is proud and honored to recognize the important achievements of all three of these awardees. Michael Mann has contributed immeasurably to the scientific understanding of historic climate change, including co-authoring the ‘hockey-stick graph’ which showed the sharp rise in temperatures since the industrial age. Stephon Alexander has done significant work in physics as well as exploring the interconnections of physics, music, and mathematics, and promoting diversity and inclusion in scientific fields. David Breeden is a tireless champion of humanism and an important guide and supporter of upcoming humanist leadership and the AHA’s education program.

In addition to Dr. Breeden’s award, the focus at Friday’s banquet will be on grassroots humanism, with important recognition being focused on some of the AHA’s local chapters and local volunteer leaders.

In addition to the awards ceremonies, the conference will bring together humanist leaders, activists, and community members to discuss pressing topics of our time and explore new ideas for building the future of humanism.

To attend Crossroads and Collective Futures either in-person or online, and to celebrate the accomplishments of these distinguished awardees, please visit the conference website to register. And, if you are planning to attend in person, don’t forget to make your hotel reservation. The AHA’s special room block price at the Conference hotel expires on Friday, April 21st.

See you in Denver!