The Sidney Prize is an annual award of the University of Sydney to a student who has achieved excellence in undergraduate writing. The Prize was established in memory of Professor Sidney Cox, who taught English at Dartmouth from 1927 to 1952. It is administered by a committee of former students and friends of Professor Cox. The Prize is awarded on the recommendation of the Head of the School of Philosophy, following recommendations made by the November Examiners’ Meeting.
The Prize is open to students who have completed at least three semesters of study in an undergraduate course of study or research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney, if they meet the eligibility criteria set out by the Prize Committee. The Prize is primarily for the best piece of undergraduate writing in English, but it may also be awarded to an undergraduate student who demonstrates exceptional promise in any other field of study.
In recent years, the Sidney Prize has recognised a number of outstanding pieces of work produced by University of Sydney students in the disciplines of Philosophy and History of Science. It is a valuable contribution to the University’s cultural life, encouraging and supporting academic engagement in the fields of philosophy and history of science.
One of the most recent winners was Beth Schwartzapfel, who received a Sidney Prize for her work on Prospect magazine’s prison labor exposé. The work was published in June 2014.
It is a great honor for Prospect to have been able to present this award to such a talented and important journalist. It is our hope that this award will continue to inspire people to be brave and speak up about what’s wrong with the world.
The award is named after a scientist and educator, who was also a champion of the underprivileged. He served as the Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and as an advocate for human rights.
He was also a prominent teacher and mentor to many students. His most enduring contribution was his ability to create an environment in the laboratory that encouraged young students to learn and grow.
Among other things, he was an avid supporter of science and his commitment to the teaching and training of young scientists helped shape generations of researchers throughout his career. He was an inspiration to many, including his staff at the University of Virginia.
Other recipients of the Sidney Prize include Julian Burnside, Prof Noam Chomsky and the former Irish president Mary Robinson.
This year, the Sidney Prize has also been given to Black Lives Matter – a movement of activists that was founded in the United States in response to the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman for murdering teenager Trayvon Martin. The prize is awarded by the Sydney Peace Foundation and honours a person or organisation that has promoted “peace with justice,” “human rights” and “non-violence.”
In addition to establishing the Sidney Prize, the University of Sydney also supports numerous other awards in the fields of science, literature, art, film and music. Each of these prizes celebrates the achievements of individuals and groups who have made an outstanding contribution to their field and to Australian society as a whole. The winners are selected on a national basis and their contributions are celebrated in a variety of ways.