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AAAS Kavli Lecture Series: Bad Science, Good Science: Covering Medical Research

  • Belo Center for New Media Auditorium University of Texas, Austin (map)

Lecturer: Richard Harris, science correspondent at NPR

It is not enough for science journalists to faithfully describe research results. It is becoming increasingly clear that in many cases, initial results do not stand the test of time. Harris will discuss how he has changed the way he communicates science, mindful that many results are not reproducible.

Harris has reported on a wide range of topics in science, medicine and the environment since he joined NPR in 1986. In early 2014, his focus shifted from an emphasis on climate change and the environment to biomedical research. He is the author of “Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions” (Basic Books, 2017). He has traveled to all seven continents for NPR. His reports have originated from Timbuktu, the South Pole, the Galapagos Islands, Beijing during the SARS epidemic, the center of Greenland, the Amazon rain forest, the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro (for a story on tuberculosis) and Japan to cover the nuclear aftermath of the 2011 tsunami. Harris won the AAAS Kavli radio award in 1988, for a segment on anti-noise technology, in 1995 for a story on hormones in the environment, and in 2010 for a series which found that the blown-out BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was spewing far more oil than asserted in the official estimates.