Joe Palca Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR.
Joe Palca, photographed for NPR, 17 January 2019, in Washington DC.
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Joe Palca

Mike Morgan/NPR
Joe Palca, photographed for NPR, 17 January 2019, in Washington DC.
Mike Morgan/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 is also the founder of NPR Scicommers – A science communication collective.

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 for Science Magazine.

In October 2009, Palca took a six-month leave from NPR to become science writer in residence at 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's 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. In 2019, Palca was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in journalism.

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.

Story Archive

Pfizer Says A 3rd Dose Of Its COVID-19 Vaccine Boosts Immunity

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COVID Vaccine Latest: J&J Warning Label And Israel Starts Booster Dose

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Pfizer Is Pursuing A Booster Shot And New Vaccine Targeting The Delta Variant

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Novavax says its vaccine is 100% effective against the original strain of the coronavirus and had 93% efficacy against more worrisome variants. Alastair Grant/AP hide caption

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Alastair Grant/AP

Novavax Says Its COVID Vaccine Is Extremely Effective

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The Results Are In For Novavax's Vaccine And They Are Impressive

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A woman receives the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 at a drive-in vaccination event last week in Meerbusch, Germany. Lukas Schulze/Getty Images hide caption

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Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

New Evidence Suggests COVID-19 Vaccines Remain Effective Against Variants

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More Infectious COVID-19 Variants Raise Questions About Vaccines' Effectiveness

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The solar system's largest moon, Ganymede, is pictured with Jupiter in a photo by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Dec. 3, 2000. NASA's Juno mission got close to Ganymede on Monday. NASA/Getty Images hide caption

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NASA Spacecraft Made A Flyby Visit To The Largest Moon In The Solar System

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A vial of the experimental Novavax coronavirus vaccine is ready for use in a London study in 2020. Novavax's vaccine candidate contains a noninfectious bit of the virus — the spike protein — with a substance called an adjuvant added that helps the body generate a strong immune response. Alastair Grant/AP hide caption

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Alastair Grant/AP

A New Type Of COVID-19 Vaccine Could Debut Soon

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Mark Prausnitz, Georgia Tech Regents' professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, holds a vaccine patch containing microneedles that dissolve into the skin. Christopher Moore/Georgia Tech hide caption

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Christopher Moore/Georgia Tech

A Vaccine Patch Could Someday Be An Ouchless Option

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Microneedles May Alleviate Shots' Pain, Help With Global Vaccine Distribution

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FDA Permits Pfizer Vaccine For Children As Young As 12

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Debris From Chinese Rocket Expected To Land On Earth This Weekend

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Mixing different kinds of COVID-19 vaccines might help boost immune responses, but the idea has been slow to catch on. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Giving 2 Doses Of Different COVID-19 Vaccines Could Boost Immune Response

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