2019 Heinlein Award Winner: Gregory Benford

Gregory Benford photo

Gregory Benford — physicist, educator, author — was born in Mobile, Alabama, on January 30, 1941. In 1963, he received a B.S. from the University of Oklahoma, and then attended the University of California, San Diego, where he received his Ph.D. in 1967. He spent the next four years at Lawrence (Calif.) Radiation Laboratory as both a postdoctoral fellow and research physicist.

Benford is a professor of physics at the University of California, Irvine, where he has been a faculty member since 1971. Benford conducts research in plasma turbulence theory and experiment, and in astrophysics. He has published well over a hundred papers in fields of physics from condensed matter, particle physics, plasmas and mathematical physics, and several in biological conservation.

Benford is the author of over twenty novels, including Jupiter Project, Artifact, Against Infinity, Eater, and Timescape. A two-time winner of the Nebula Award, Benford has also won the John W. Campbell Award, the Australian Ditmar Award, the 1995 Lord Foundation Award for achievement in the sciences, and the 1990 United Nations Medal in Literature.

Many of his best known novels are part of a six-novel sequence beginning in the near future with In the Ocean of Night, and continuing on with Across the Sea of Suns. The series then leaps to the far future, at the center of our galaxy, where a desperate human drama unfolds, beginning with Great Sky River, and proceeding through Tides of Light, Furious Gulf, and concluding with Sailing Bright Eternity. At the series’ end the links to the earlier novels emerge, revealing a single unfolding tapestry against an immense background.

His television credits, in addition to the series “A Galactic Odyssey”, include “Japan 2000”. He has served as scientific consultant to the NHK Network and for “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

For more information see Gregory Benford’s web page.

The Robert A. Heinlein Award is a sterling silver medallion bearing the image of Robert A. Heinlein, as depicted by artist Arlin Robbins. The medallion is matched with a red-white-blue lanyard. In addition, the winner receives two lapel pins for use when a large medallion is impractical, and a plaque describing the award, suitable for home or office wall display.

The Robert A. Heinlein Award selection committee consists of science fiction writers and was founded by Dr. Yoji Kondo, a long-time friend of Robert and Virginia Heinlein. Members of the original committee were approved by Virginia Heinlein. The current Chairman of the Selection Committee is Michael F. Flynn.

Virginia Heinlein authorized multiple awards in memory of her husband, including the Heinlein Prize, which is fully funded by Virginia Heinlein’s estate, and a National Space Society award for volunteer projects.

More information on the Robert A. Heinlein Award, including past winners, can be found at www.bsfs.org/bsfsheinlein.htm.