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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Story Archive

Professional fighter Gina Mazany practices during a training session at Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts in Las Vegas. She well remembers her first concussion — which came in her first fight. "I was throwing up that night," Mazany says. Bridget Bennett for NPR hide caption

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Bridget Bennett for NPR

Female Athletes Are Closing The Gender Gap When It Comes To Concussions

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Glioblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumor. About 12,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with the cancer every year. Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Lab/Science Source hide caption

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Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Lab/Science Source

John McCain Was Diagnosed With A Glioblastoma, Among The Deadliest Of Cancers

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New research finds that African-Americans who grow up in harsh environments and endure stressful experiences are much more likely to develop Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. Leland Bobbe/Getty Images hide caption

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Leland Bobbe/Getty Images

Stress And Poverty May Explain High Rates Of Dementia In African-Americans

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Jennifer Qian for NPR

Listen to the Invisibilia episode

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When the neurons that release the neurotransmitter dopamine die, people develop Parkinson's disease. Roger J. Bick &/Brian J. Poindexter / UT-Houston/Science Source hide caption

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Roger J. Bick &/Brian J. Poindexter / UT-Houston/Science Source

Brain Cell Transplants Are Being Tested Once Again For Parkinson's

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Eight different real faces were shown to a monkey. The images were then reconstructed using analyzing electrical activity from 205 neurons recorded while the monkey was viewing the faces. Courtesy of Doris Tsao/Cell Press hide caption

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Courtesy of Doris Tsao/Cell Press

Cracking The Code That Lets The Brain ID Any Face, Fast

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Sometime between grade school and grad school, the brain's information highways get remapped in a way that dramatically boosts self-control. Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images hide caption

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Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

As Brains Mature, More Robust Information Networks Boost Self-Control

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Cabinet-card portrait of brain-injury survivor Phineas Gage (1823–1860), shown holding the tamping iron that injured him. Wikimedia hide caption

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Wikimedia

Why Brain Scientists Are Still Obsessed With The Curious Case Of Phineas Gage

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An orangutan mother and her 11-month old infant in Borneo. Orangutans breast-feed offspring off and on for up to eight years. Tim Laman/Science Advances hide caption

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Tim Laman/Science Advances

Orangutan Moms Are The Primate Champs Of Breast-Feeding

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A saliva test allowed scientists to accurately predict how long concussion symptoms would last in children. technotr/Getty Images hide caption

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technotr/Getty Images

Spit Test May Reveal The Severity Of A Child's Concussion

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Scientists placed two clusters of cultured forebrain cells side by side (each cluster the size of a head of a pin). Within days, the "minibrains" had fused and particular neurons (in green) migrated from the left side to the right side, as subsets of cells do in a real brain. Courtesy of Pasca lab/Stanford University hide caption

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Courtesy of Pasca lab/Stanford University

'Minibrains' In A Dish Shed A Little Light On Autism And Epilepsy

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Small pulses of electricity to the brain have an effect on memory, new research shows. Science Photo Library/SCIEPRO/Getty Images hide caption

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Science Photo Library/SCIEPRO/Getty Images

Electrical Stimulation To Boost Memory: Maybe It's All In The Timing

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Lisa Zador/Getty Images

A 'Hot Zone' In The Brain May Reveal When, And Even What, We Dream

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Coalition forces fire a Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle during a training exercise in Afghanistan's Helmand province in 2013. Spc. Justin Young/U.S. Department of Defense/DVIDS hide caption

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Spc. Justin Young/U.S. Department of Defense/DVIDS

Do U.S. Troops Risk Brain Injury When They Fire Heavy Weapons?

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Bill Kochevar received an implanted brain-recording and muscle-stimulating system that allowed him to move limbs he hadn't been able to move in eight years. Cleveland FES Center hide caption

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Cleveland FES Center

Paralyzed Man Uses Thoughts To Control His Own Arm And Hand

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