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Published: 2024-04-16 Updated: 2024-04-23, 10:53

Keith Larson Awarded the Iwan Bolin Prize

NEWS The Stockholm Workers' Educational Association's Iwan Bolin Prize for 2024 is awarded to Keith Larson, PhD in evolutionary ecology and director of the Arctic Center at Umeå University, for his long-term work communicating how climate change impacts the Arctic and its communities.

Text: Simon Oja

Keith Larson is an experienced science communicator who expertly conveys knowledge, both his own and that of others, to a broad audience ranging from curious high school students to seasoned global leaders. With a passion for nature in general and the Arctic in particular, Keith contributes not only to educating but also to raising awareness of how global climate changes shape our world and humanity's future at both structural and individual levels.

“For someone who believes in communication as a tool to understand, change, and improve the world, it is a great recognition to be honoured with the Iwan Bolin Prize. And to be placed in a context with recognised skilled communicators both within and outside academia, all of whom have focused on knowledge, is something I am humbled by”, comments Keith Larson on the award.

Keith Larson is recognised for his innovative work with the nature of Arctic regions and their connection to climate change. His efforts have not only promoted scientific understanding but also improved science communication, having a significant impact both within and beyond Sweden's borders. Among his projects, the development of a research-based educational program for high school students visiting the Climate Impact Research Centre (CIRC) and the research station in Abisko stands out as a key contribution.

Internationally, Larson's influence is far-reaching. Numerous lectures, many of them recurring, and significant involvement in designing programs about Arctic climate changes at art and design schools worldwide underline his commitment to education and outreach. For example, he wrote a chapter in Greta Thunberg's The Climate Book and in BBC Earth's Frozen Planet II, led by Sir David Attenborough, where his research on plant phenology and the role of bumblebees as pollinators was highlighted.

For over a decade, Keith Larson has been a visionary leader within the Abisko scientific community. Among other things, he is the architect behind the groundbreaking citizen science project "Abisko Fingerprints of Change" that builds on public engagement to document changing biodiversity patterns. The project uses the iNaturalist app to track blooming plants and their pollinators and has so far gathered over 10,500 observations.

Iwan Bolin-prize

The Iwan Bolin Prize is awarded annually to individuals or institutions that excel in promoting the communication of scientific research to the broader public, stimulating public interest in science through educational and engaging means. The Stockholm Workers' Educational Association, rooted in the social liberal movement of the 1880s, continues to support such endeavours, honouring the legacy of Iwan Bolin, a long-time advocate for these ideals.

The prize amount is 100,000 SEK and will be awarded on April 23rd in Stockholm.

Previous recipients

2021 – Anna Schytt, science journalist and editorial manager for SVT's "Vetenskapens värld."
2018 – Bengt E.Y. Svensson, professor emeritus of physics.
2015 – Agnes Wold, professor of clinical bacteriology.
2012 – Mattias Klum, photographer and filmmaker.
2009 – Staffan Ulfstrand, professor emeritus of ecological zoology.


Keith Larson
Other position, project coordinator