Jon Hamilton 2010 i
Doby Photography/NPR
Jon Hamilton 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

Jon Hamilton

Correspondent, Science Desk

Jon Hamilton is a correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. Currently he focuses on neuroscience, health risks, and extreme weather.

Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Hamilton was part of NPR's team of science reporters and editors who went to Japan to cover the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Hamilton contributed several pieces to the Science Desk series "The Human Edge," which looked at what makes people the most versatile and powerful species on Earth. His reporting explained how humans use stories, how the highly evolved human brain is made from primitive parts, and what autism reveals about humans social brains.

In 2009, Hamilton received the Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award for his piece on the neuroscience behind treating autism.

Before joining NPR in 1998, Hamilton was a media fellow with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation studying health policy issues. He reported on states that have improved their Medicaid programs for the poor by enrolling beneficiaries in private HMOs.

From 1995-1997, Hamilton wrote on health and medical topics as a freelance writer, after having been a medical reporter for both The Commercial Appeal and Physician's Weekly.

Hamilton graduated with honors from Oberlin College in Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. As a student, he was the editor of the Oberlin Review student newspaper. He earned his master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, where he graduated with honors During his time at Columbia, Hamilton was awarded the Baker Prize for magazine writing and earned a Sherwood traveling fellowship.

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The ill-fated Sultana in Helena, Ark., just before it exploded on April 27, 1865, with about 2,500 people aboard. Most were Union soldiers, newly released from Confederate prison camps. Library of Congress hide caption

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A color-enhanced cerebral MRI showing a glioma tumor. Scott Camazine/Science Source hide caption

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To sleep, perchance to consolidate important connections in far-flung parts of the brain. Alberto Ruggieri/Illustration Works/Getty Images hide caption

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The same nerve receptor that responds to the green paste on your sushi plate is activated by car exhaust, the smoke of a wildfire, tear gas and other chemical irritants. iStockphoto hide caption

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The Allen Institute for Brain Science hosted its first BigNeuron Hackathon in Beijing earlier this month. Similar events are planned for the U.S. and U.K. Courtesy of Allen Institute for Brain Science hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Allen Institute for Brain Science

About twice a year, statistics suggest, a pilot somewhere in the world — usually flying alone — deliberately crashes a plane. The Germanwing flight downed last week may be one such case. But most people who fit the psychological profile of the pilots in these very rare events never have problems while flying. Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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A simulation from the Neitz lab of what colorblindness looks like, with normal color vision on the left and red-green colorblindness on the right. Courtesy of Neitz Laboratory hide caption

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When combined with results of other neurological tests, and in the context of a thorough medical history, atrophy of the brain (shown here in an MRI scan) sometimes indicates Alzheimer's. Simon Fraser/Science Source hide caption

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Jonathan Keleher talks with a colleague, Rafael Wainhaus, at work. Keleher was born without a cerebellum, but his brain has developed work-arounds for solving problems of balance and abstract thought. Ellen Webber for NPR hide caption

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Jonathan Keleher is one of a handful of people who have lived their entire lives without a cerebellum. Ellen Webber for NPR hide caption

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Prion protein can be infectious, spreading from cell to cell in the brain. Here four nerve cells in a mouse illustrate how infectious prion protein moves within cells along neurites — wire-like connections the nerve cells use for communicating with adjacent cells. Science Source hide caption

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Eastman Chemical went a step beyond calling Tritan plastic BPA-free, setting off a legal challenge. Eastman hide caption

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