About Frances Ashcroft
FRANCES ASHCROFT, Ph.D., is a research physiologist who has made important discoveries about ion channels—membrane-bound pores that regulate electrical activity in cells. As a writer, she is acclaimed for the wit and clarity she brings to her descriptions of biology’s marvels. In her book Life at the Extremes, Dr. Ashcroft, a Professor of Physiology at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Trinity College Oxford, explores the physiological responses to environmental challenges. In 2012’s The Spark of Life, she illustrates how electricity plays a fundamental role within our own bodies. Dr. Ashcroft’s scientific work has contributed important insights into a rare genetic from of diabetes known as neonatal diabetes and has led to a new therapy for this disease. She is a recipient of the 2012 L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. Dr. Ashcroft earned her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in zoology from Cambridge University.
About the Lewis Thomas Prize
Throughout history, scientists and writers have sought to communicate with one another, despite barriers of language and process. The Rockefeller University Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science honors the rare individual who bridges both worlds—whose voice and vision can tell us about science's aesthetic and philosophical dimensions, providing not merely new information but cause for reflection, even revelation. The Lewis Thomas Prize was established in 1993 by the trustees of The Rockefeller University and presented to Lewis Thomas, its first recipient, that year.