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NPR Science Correspondant, Joe Palca, On Access Utah Friday

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NPR Science Correspondent Joe Palca set out to become a college professor and ended up on the radio. He’s in Logan for several events for UPR and USU and he’s Tom Williams’ guest for the hour on Friday’s AU. They’ll talk about the art of reporting on science and the fascinating stories he has covered, including a story from Utah about the dangers of household sponges.

His recent reporting includes stories about the Rosetta spacecraft getting ready for a rendezvous with a comet; a non-GMO way to get more and tastier tomatoes; a phone app that checks photos for eye disease; and why theories about black holes are full of holes.

Joe Palca will give a talk titled “Unwrapping Science on the Radio” as a part of the Science Unwrapped series presented by USU’s College of Science on Friday at 7:00 p.m. in Eccles Science Learning Center Emert Auditorium, Room 130. The event is free and open to the public and hands-on learning activities and refreshments will follow the presentation. Joe Palca’s USU appearance is sponsored by UPR.

Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has covered a range of science topics — everything from biomedical research to astronomy. He is currently focused on the eponymous series, "Joe's Big Idea." Stories in the series explore the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors.

Palca began his journalism career in television in 1982, working as a health producer for the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. In 1986, he left television for a seven-year stint as a print journalist, first as the Washington news editor for Nature, and then as a senior correspondent for Science Magazine.

In October 2009, Palca took a six-month leave from NPR to become science writer in residence at the Huntington Library and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Palca has won numerous awards, including the National Academies Communications Award, the Science-in-Society Award of the National Association of Science Writers, the American Chemical Society James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public, the American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Prize, and the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Writing.

With Flora Lichtman, Palca is the co-author of Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us (Wiley, 2011).

He comes to journalism from a science background, having received a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz where he worked on human sleep physiology.