College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering

CSE Public Lecture 

Palca - 225 x 300

No News Is Big News: Adventures in Science Journalism

Featuring Joe Palca, National Public Radio science correspondent

Thursday, April 16, 2015
7 p.m.
(Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Tate Laboratory of Physics
Van Vleck Auditorium (Room 150)
University of Minnesota
116 Church Street SE, Minneapolis

Registration has closed.

The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Space is limited so register early! Seating is first-come, first-served the day of the event.

About the lecture:

The factors that make something newsworthy and those that make something scientifically important can be very different. NPR Science Correspondent Joe Palca knows that from personal experience. Two stories in particular reveal that dichotomy. Both had enormous public impact, and neither contained a shred of news. In his lecture, Palca will explain why that was, and provide other examples of the frequent disconnect between science and news.

About the speaker:

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 for Science 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 American Chemical Society James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Prize. 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.

Join the conversation:

Share your thoughts about the lecture on Twitter using the hashtag #palcalecture. Don't forget to mention @UMNCSE and @joepalca.

For more information:

For more information about the lecture, contact Megan Orr at or 612-625-3767.

The University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering offers public lectures featuring distinguished leaders in cutting-edge areas related to science and technology and other interesting topics. The lectures are designed to share the latest scientific discoveries, explore the impact of technology on culture, and encourage networking on campus. The program is sponsored by the College of Science and Engineering Alumni Society.