Former CBS television news anchor Walter Cronkite will receive the second annual Nierenberg Prize for Science in Public Interest on June 2 outside Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Birch Aquarium.

Cronkite will be awarded a medal and $25,000 for his service to scientific issues in series such as “”Can the World Be Saved?”” and “”Walter Cronkite’s Universe.””

The Nierenberg Prize is named in honor of national science leader William Nierenberg, who served as director of Scripps from 1965 to 1986. Nierenberg, renowned for work in low-energy nuclear physics and underwater warfare research, held posts on several panels of the President’s Science Advisory Committee.

Cronkite, who was voted several times as “”the most trusted man in television news,”” joined a Scripps expedition in 1982 to the East Pacific Rise, where he journeyed two miles deep to the ocean floor to be the first journalist to examine the newly discovered hydrothermal vents. The anchorman has received several awards of merit, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 and the Governor’s Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

“”A Seaside Chat with Walter Cronkite,”” featuring Cronkite and Scripps Director Charles F. Kennel, will follow the awards ceremony. The event begins at noon and is open to the public. Admission is free.

Scripps professor nominated to American Philosophica Society

John Orcutt, a professor of geophysics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was elected into the American Philosophical Society, the nation’s oldest society dedicated to advancing scientific and scholarly inquiry.

Orcutt, who also serves as director to the Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Scripps, joins the APS after being voted in as a Class 1 member at the society’s April meeting in Philadelphia. Past members of the APS include George Washington, Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin and Thomas Paine. Benjamin Franklin founded the society in 1743.

Orcutt’s election to the APS comes among other distinctions for him this year. While currently the secretary of the American Geophysical Union, he was recently chosen as president-elect and will assume the presidency in 2004. Orcutt has also accepted a position on the Scientific Advisory Panel of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, a team organized to present proposals for federal ocean-related programs and laws to Congress and the president in spring 2003.

Orcutt has served as chief scientist on over 20 ocean expeditions. His research expertise is in marine seismology, seismic topology, long-term ocean observations and theoretical seismology.

Medical school’s Firestein to chair FDA committee

UCSD School of Medicine professor Gary S. Firestein has been named the chair of the Arthritis Advisory Committee by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a term starting now.

Firestein, the chief of UCSD’s Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, will head a panel devoted to making suggestions to the FDA about arthritis relief and prevention products. The committee will include other medical professionals, industry leaders, scientists, and consumer and patient representatives who are considered experts in their field of study.

As executive director of UCSD’s Center for Innovative Therapy, Firestein has overseen the evaluation of therapies for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. He now serves as deputy editor for the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism and is responsible for editing the “”Kelley Textbook of Rheumatology.””

Firestein has also recently been elected into membership by the Association of American Physicians, along with School of Medicine colleague Samuel A. Bozzette at April’s joint conference of the AAP and the American Society of Clinical Investigators. Other School of Medicine faculty members elected at the conference were Anthony Wynshaw-Boris into the ASCI, while Kenneth Kaushansky was recognized as the ASCI’s 2003-2004 president-elect.