Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture

Joe Palca

Joe Palca (Photo © 2010 NPR, by Doby Photography) 

2013 Lecturer: Joe Palca

On November 21, 2013, Joe Palca, science correspondent for NPR, will deliver the 2013 Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. The lecture is entitled “Covering Complex Science, or How I Explained a Frank-Kasper σ Phase in Sphere-Forming Block Copolymer Melts to a Radio Audience.”

Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has reported on a range of science topics—everything from biomedical research to astronomy. In addition to his science reporting Palca is a backup host for Talk of the Nation Science Friday.

Palca began his journalism career in television in 1982, working as a health producer for the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C. 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.

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 in San Marino, California.

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.

Palca is the coauthor (with Flora Lichtman) of Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us (Wiley, 2011) and the creator of the NPR online project “Joe’s Big Idea,” which looks at the origins of big ideas and how those ideas become important discoveries.

He comes to journalism from a science background, having received a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he worked on human sleep physiology.

About the Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture

The Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture was established in 1990 to emphasize to the general public the positive role that the chemical and molecular sciences play in our lives. Ullyot lectures are held annually and are open to the public. Ullyot lecturers are distinguished in their fields, nationally recognized, and able to communicate to a nonscientific audience.

The Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture is jointly sponsored by the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of the Sciences, and the Philadelphia Section and Delaware Section of the American Chemical Society.

About Glenn Edgar Ullyot

Glenn Edgar Ullyot earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Minnesota and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois. During a successful 38-year career with SmithKline & French Laboratories (now GlaxoSmithKline), Ullyot progressed through several stages of responsibility, from bench chemist to director of scientific liaison.

Ullyot’s primary scientific interests were with medicinal chemistry, therapeutic agents, and their biological activity. He published many papers, received patents on numerous compounds, and played a significant role in the development of several products, including Benzidrex, a nonstimulating analog of the inhaler Benzidrine, and Diazide, a diuretic agent for the treatment of high blood pressure.

Ullyot was an active member of and leader in the American Chemical Society for more than 60 years and served on several important U.S. governmental committees. Owing to his deep commitment to education, he established the Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture, stating, “Chemistry, biology, and physics are the basic sciences that are keys to understanding the world around us. It is my hope that each Ullyot lecturer will increasingly stimulate more people to appreciate the positive impact these sciences and the people who pursue them have on our daily lives.”

Ullyot lecturers are distinguished in their fields, nationally recognized, and able to communicate to a wide audience.

Past Ullyot Lecturers:

To learn more about past lectures, click here.


Past Ullyot Lectures

Click here to find past Ullyot Public Affairs Lecturers and their topics.

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