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

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

Marines based in Okinawa, Japan, fire an M136 AT-4 rocket launcher as part of a weapons training exercise on the Kaneohe Bay Range Training Facility, in 2014. Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg/U.S. Marines/DVIDS hide caption

toggle caption
Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg/U.S. Marines/DVIDS

Army 'Leans In' To Protect A Shooter's Brain From Blast Injury

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/611700850/612082817" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

U.S. Marines fire the Carl Gustav rocket system during live-fire training last October. With each firing, the shooter's brain is exposed to pulses of high pressure air emanating from the explosion that travel faster than the speed of sound. Sgt. Aaron Patterson/3rd Marine Division/DVIDS hide caption

toggle caption
Sgt. Aaron Patterson/3rd Marine Division/DVIDS

Report To Army Finds Blast From Some Weapons May Put Shooter's Brain At Risk

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/606142634/606990298" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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

toggle caption
Courtesy of Pasca lab/Stanford University

Tiny Lab-Grown 'Brains' Raise Big Ethical Questions

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/605331749/605839638" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

How do we make sense of all that chatter? Ilana Kohn/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Ilana Kohn/Getty Images

How People Learned To Recognize Monkey Calls Reveals How We All Make Sense Of Sound

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/603376389/603693230" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Plaques located in the gray matter of the brain are key indicators of Alzheimer's disease. Cecil Fox/Science Source hide caption

toggle caption
Cecil Fox/Science Source

Scientists Push Plan To Change How Researchers Define Alzheimer's

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/600944750/601072306" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Courtesy of Michael Rosnach/Harvard University

Failure To Save A Child In Wartime Inspires Wound-Healing Tech

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/596593646/598756660" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A hippocampal neuron seen in culture. Dendrites are green, dendritic spines are red and DNA is blue. Science Source/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Science Source/Getty Images

Sorry, Adults, No New Neurons For Your Aging Brains

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/591305604/591681191" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A study in mice suggests that our brains tell us when to start and stop drinking long before our bodies are fully hydrated. Guido Mieth/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Guido Mieth/Getty Images

Still Thirsty? It's Up To Your Brain, Not Your Body

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/589295404/589600463" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

This light micrograph of a part of a brain affected by Alzheimer's disease shows an accumulation of darkened plaques, which have molecules called amyloid-beta at their core. Once dismissed as all bad, amyloid-beta might actually be a useful part of the immune system, some scientists now suspect — until the brain starts making too much. Martin M. Rotker/Science Source hide caption

toggle caption
Martin M. Rotker/Science Source

Scientists Explore Ties Between Alzheimer's And Brain's Ancient Immune System

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/580475245/596647551" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Brain MRI BSIP/Collection Mix: Sub/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
BSIP/Collection Mix: Sub/Getty Images

A Tiny Pulse Of Electricity Can Help The Brain Form Lasting Memories

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/583633391/583778487" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Her Seizures Looked Like Epilepsy, But Her Brain Looked Fine

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/582104848/582513523" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Scientists zeroed in on specific neurons in the brains of mice to gain insights into how anxiety is triggered and suppressed. SPL/Science Source hide caption

toggle caption
SPL/Science Source

Researchers Discover 'Anxiety Cells' In The Brain

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/582112597/582338703" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(Left to right) Donald Trump, Abraham Lincoln and then vice presidential-candidate Richard Nixon (Left to right) Drew Angerer/Getty Images; National Archive/Getty Images; Keystone/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
(Left to right) Drew Angerer/Getty Images; National Archive/Getty Images; Keystone/Getty Images

Why Mental Health Is A Poor Measure Of A President

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/571722326/576413519" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript