Joe Palca 2010
Doby Photography/NPR
Joe Palca 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

Joe Palca

Correspondent, Science Desk

Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR. 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 forScience 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.

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Alex Longo makes a pitch at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, in October 2015. The Institute sponsored the conference to pick a landing site for the first human landing on Mars. Long has proposed a site for a different mission — a rover landing. Bill Ingalls/NASA hide caption

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A Teen Might Pick The Landing Site For NASA's Next Mars Rover

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NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this view on Aug. 27 as it closed in on Jupiter's north pole, about two hours before the probe's nearest approach. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS hide caption

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NASA Probe Takes First-Ever Close-Up Images Of Jupiter's North Pole

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The Japanese Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii has the right attributes for searching for Planet Nine. National Astronomical Observatory of Japan hide caption

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Astronomers Are On A Celestial Treasure Hunt. The Prize? Planet Nine

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Christian Choe, Zach Rosenthal, and Maria Filsinger Interrante, who call themselves Team Lyseia, strategize about experiments to test their new antibiotics. Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News /Courtesy of Stanford University hide caption

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Young Inventors Work On Secret Proteins To Thwart Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

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The same word is used to describe light, a lively sea, or a ripple in the fabric of space-time. What's in a wave? Photo illustration by Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

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How A Wave Is Unlike An Armadillo: One Reporter's Summer Puzzle

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Team Of Researchers Dig Up New Compound In An Unlikely Spot: Our Noses

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This illustration show's NASA's Juno mission approaching Jupiter. Juno used distant stars to chart its course across the void. NASA/JPL-Caltech hide caption

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'Star Trackers' Help Juno Find Its Way

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Launched from Earth in 2011, the Juno space probe has nearly reached Jupiter. If all goes as hoped, the probe will repeatedly dive between the planet and intense belts of charged particle radiation, in an orbit that will take it from pole to pole. JPL/NASA hide caption

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Juno Space Probe Is Set To Enter Jupiter's Orbit On Monday

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Joe Palca (left) with Jim Allison (second from right) and friends, circa 1975. Allison has gone on to make landmark discoveries in science, and is still passionate about outlaw country music. Joe Palca/NPR hide caption

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Jim Allison in his lab at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Scott Dalton for NPR hide caption

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A Scientist's Dream Fulfilled: Harnessing The Immune System To Fight Cancer

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Drs. Tessa Hill and Jessica Hellmann Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

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Click Below To Listen

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