Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR. Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has covered a range of science topics — from NASA's Space Shuttle launches to the Neanderthal genome.
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.
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. In 1999, Palca took a one-year leave from NPR to become a Kaiser Family Foundation Media Fellow. He spent the year studying human clinical trials. In 2009, Palca took a six month leave to act as Science Writer In Residence at the Huntington Library and Gardens in California.
Palca has won numerous awards, including the the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting, 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 Ohio State Award.
Palca was president of the National Association of Science Writers from 1999-2000. He lives in Washington, D.C, with his wife and two sons.