Shawn Lawrence Otto
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Otto lives on a hobby farm near Marine on St. Croix with his wife, Rebecca Otto, the current Minnesota State Auditor. Their home, called "Breezy," is passive solar, geothermal, wind-powered, and superinsulated. Otto designed it, and the couple built it with their own hands. Otto claims his family forefather, C.D. Gilfillan, founded the Republican Party of Minnesota.
- Otto is the author of Sins of Our Fathers (ISBN 978-1571311092), a critically acclaimed novel published in 2014 that received a starred review by Publishers Weekly.
- Otto is the screenwriter and coproducer of House of Sand and Fog which starred Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly and garnered three Academy Award Nominations.
- Otto's 2011 book Fool Me Twice: Fighting The Assault On Science In America (ISBN 978-1605292175) is published by Rodale Books, and received starred reviews from both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.
- Otto has his own blog, Neorenaissance, and blogs regularly on Huffington Post.
- Otto's work has been published in Science, Salon.com, Huffington Post, MinnPost.com, Issues in Science & Technology, New Scientist, Scientific American, and other outlets.
During the Hollywood writers' strike in 2007 and 2008, Otto co-founded and became the CEO of the largest private organization in the world, the 125-million-member Science Debate 2008, nearly three times the size of AARP (37 million members). Barack Obama and John McCain participated in Science Debate 2008, marking the first time in history endorsed presidential candidates laid out science policies in detail before the election. The initiative made over 800 million media impressions. The campaign was co-sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Council on Competitiveness, PBS Nova, and Now on PBS, and its signers include over 170 major American universities and other leading organizations, over 100 university presidents, and dozens of Nobel laureates.
Notable public appearances
Otto delivered the keynote at the 45th annual Nobel Conference, on "Democracy in the Age of Science", and has spoken at the United States National Academies, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2010. He has also spoken about science and politics on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation: Science Friday" and on television and radio throughout the world.
Awards and honors
- Otto's book Fool Me Twice won the 2012 Minnesota Book Award for nonfiction selling in the top 250,000 titles according to Amazon.com
- Otto was awarded the IEEE-USA's 2009 National Distinguished Public Service Award, their highest honor.
- His film House of Sand and Fog was nominated for three Academy Awards.
- Otto's first screenplay, Shining White, won the Heathcote Award, the McKnight Artist Fellowship and the Barry Morrow Fellowship.
- He is a PEN Center USA Literary Awards finalist in screenwriting for House of Sand and Fog.
- He is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow for his project Hubble.
- Otto is a National Merit Scholar, a member of Mensa, a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and an Eagle Scout.
- de Turenne, Veronique (January 5, 2004). "House of Sand and Fog". Variety.
- "Star Tribune, Minneapolis, C.J. column". Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News. August 3, 2006.
- Boyle, Alan (October 20, 2008). "Science goes under the political microscope". MSNBC.