Science Correspondent

National Public Radio

Speaking At:
Preparing for Our Future: Climate Change
June 26, 2013 8:30 am - 10:00 am
Location: 151A-B
Topic: Plenary

Over his career as a journalist, Richard Harris has covered almost all aspects of science, from cell biology and medicine to astronomy, particle physics and planetary science. Since he attended his first American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in 1982, earth science has been a subject of passion and fascination. Richard Harris graduated from UC-Santa Cruz in 1980 with highest honors in biology. In his commencement address, he urged his classmates to think not just about science, but how to communicate it.

His first job in the news business was at the Livermore (Calif.) Tri-Valley Herald, where he covered energy and nuclear-weapons research. After his ground-breaking reports that revealed the lab was working on directed-energy nuclear weapons, Harris spent about three years at the San Francisco Examiner. National Public Radio recruited him to come east in 1986.

Richard Harris’s stories have included coverage of numerous earthquakes as well as devastating tsunamis (and the associated meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi). For decades, Harris has closely followed the evolving story of climate change. His reporting on that subject led him to Antarctica; the Greenland Summit; the Arctic Ocean; the Great Barrier Reef and West Africa. He has also reported on United Nations climate talks since the Framework Convention on Climate Change was negotiated in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. He has followed those talks through Kyoto; Bali; Copenhagen and Durban.

Harris has won many of the top awards in the field of science writing.  Some of the more recent awards honor him for his reporting on the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Harris’s reporting on this 2010 spill revealed that the government was underestimating the flow from the blown-out well by a factor of 10.

Richard Harris has served the science writing community as president of the National Association of Science Writers and as co-founder of the DC –area Science Writers Association. He has a teen-aged daughter and a son in college. He commutes to work by bicycle, about 15 miles a day, from his home in Washington DC.