Competition: US & Canada
Deborah Rudacille is a science writer who tells stories about the ways in which science influences culture and culture informs science. The often fraught but always fruitful interaction between scientific research and cultural norms and beliefs informs much of her work, from her account of long-running war between scientists and anti-vivisectionists in the 2001 book, The Scalpel and the Butterfly: The War Between Science and Animal Protection, to her reporting on the uneasy but transformative relationship between sex and gender researchers and gender-non-conforming people in her book, The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism and Transgender Rights. The book was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in 2005.
Rudacille’s more recent reporting on autism, gender and neurodiversity once again reveals the links between science and social justice movements and the ways that science fuels cultural transformation.
In her reporting on working class people who yearn for a return to the mid-century manufacturing economy in Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town, Rudacille charts the health and environmental effects of the post-war boom. By telling the stories of people who labored at the Sparrows Point steelworks in Baltimore in the 20th and early 21st century, Rudacille sought to provide a balanced perspective on the costs and benefits of the boom and bust for individuals, families and the community. She was honored by the Baltimore City Historical Society in 2015 for the book.
Since 2012, Rudacille has served as Professor of the Practice in the English Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) where she teaches courses on science journalism, gender studies, and addiction.
Photograph credit: Mark Champion