2015 AIP Children's Writing Awards go to Agnieszka Biskup, Tammy Enz and Dia L. Michels for Books on Batman Science and Ghosts

News Release

Washington, D.C., October 30, 2015 – The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has named three winners for this year’s AIP Science Writing Awards in the Writing for Children category for fun works on the science behind a famous superhero and the solution to a kids' mystery:

  • Agnieszka Biskup and Tammy Enz will receive the prize for Batman Science: The Real-world Science Behind Batman’s Gear, published by Capstone Young Readers.
  • Dia L. Michels, who led a team of writers, will receive the prize for Ghost in the Water, published by Science, Naturally.

In Batman Science, young readers learn all about the science that can help make the fantasy of the superhero seem a little more realistic. Biskup and Enz take what Batman can do and liken it to real life, including body armor, echolocation, thermal imaging and transportation. On every page, readers will find a gadget from Batman’s world compared to something used today -- something that can excite readers of all ages given the huge current appeal of superheroes.

In Ghost in the Water, the Science, Naturally writers tell the story of John, a new boy at school. Many young readers will relate to the unsure waters of new friendships, rude bullies, and helpful adults. As kids read about how John and his new friends work to solve two mysteries, they will see science in action and, in particular, how the scientific method can apply to real-world situations.

The selection committee praised Batman Science, Biskup and Enz’s entry, for its visual appeal to young people, with its high-color, bright graphics, as well as for the way they chose to handle the popular subject matter; the individual “article” approach creates a kid-friendly style that will attract reluctant readers as well as those who are more confident. The judges also enjoyed Ghost in the Water’s child-centered story, with positive role models of young people banding together to create a positive, supportive atmosphere as they use science and engineering to solve a mystery.

Catherine O’Riordan, AIP's Chief Operating Officer, praised the two books for their approachability. "Each one is an example of the best writing and art that a science book for children can achieve," she said. "They explain the technical details well, without taking shortcuts, and each one touches upon teamwork as a lesson for success."

"We are pleased to award this prize to these two fantastic works,” O’Riordan said.

The winners will share a $3,000 prize and each will receive an inscribed Windsor chair and a certificate of recognition from AIP. The awards will be presented Jan. 12, 2016 at the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) 2016 winter meeting in New Orleans. (https://www.aapt.org/Conferences/wm2016)


Agnieszka Biskup is a managing editor at Kindermusik International. She is a former science editor at the Boston Globe as well as a Knight Fellow at MIT, where she studied science journalism. She served as managing editor of the children's science magazine Muse and has written numerous children’s books in addition to many articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. Her books have received awards from Learning magazine, the Association of Educational Publishers, the Society of School Librarians International, and have been chosen as Junior Library Guild selections.


Tammy Enz is a civil engineer, a writer and an adjunct instructor in the Master’s program at the University of Wisconsin--Platteville. She has written dozens of books, articles and stories about engineering, science and technology for young people. Her ‘Invent It’ Series with Capstone Press received the Teachers’ Choice Award for the Family. In her spare time, she fixes up old houses and conducts experiments in her garden and kitchen. She loves reading books about anything and everything and asking “why?” She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two children.


Dia L. Michels is an award-winning, internationally-published science and parenting writer and the author or editor of over a dozen books for children and adults. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Dutch, Hebrew, Chinese and Korean. She is also founder and president of two publishing houses—Platypus Media, committed to creating and distributing materials on the healthy development of infants and children, and Science, Naturally, publishing books designed to increase science and math literacy by exploring and demystifying topics in entertaining and enlightening ways. Both houses have been honored with numerous awards and professional endorsements. She is very proud to add the AIP award to their acclaim. Dia is also a popular speaker, lecturing and leading hands-on workshops regularly for educators, families and children. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and their three children.




One of four AIP science communications awards, which have been awarded annually since the 1960s, the AIP Award for Children's Writing recognizes excellent work that was broadcast or appeared online the previous year and was related to topics like physics, astronomy and the physical science. For more information, contact <[email protected]> or visit https://www.aip.org/aip/awards/science-communication.



The American Institute of Physics is an organization of scientific societies in the physical sciences, representing scientists, engineers, and educators. AIP offers information, services, and expertise in physics education and student programs, science communication, government relations, career services for science and engineering professionals, statistical research in physics employment and education, industrial outreach, and the history of physics and allied fields. AIP publishes the flagship magazine, Physics Today, and is home to the Society of Physics Students and the Niels Bohr Library and Archives. AIP owns AIP Publishing LLC, a scholarly publisher in the physical and related sciences. www.aip.org


For more information, please contact
Jason Socrates Bardi
American Institute of Physics
[email protected]
+1 301-209-3091 (office)
+1 240-535-4954 (cell)