How Big was the BP Oil Spill? Getting the Truth
January 12, 2011
The Role of Partnerships between Scientists and Journalists in the BP Oil Spill
In mid-May, NPR first reported that the government was grossly underestimating the size of the BP oilspill in the Gulf of Mexico. NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris broke that story by working closely with scientists in academia, including Professor Steve Wereley at Purdue University. Richard will recount how he got onto that story, how his reporting unfolded, and how the partnership between journalist and scientists ended up affecting the U.S. government’s approach to what we now recognize as an environmental impact of historic proportions.
Richard Harris, NPR News
Winner, 2010 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award
Award-winning journalist Richard Harris reports on science issues for NPR's newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.
Harris, who joined NPR in 1986, has traveled to the ends of the earth 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 and the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
In 2010, Harris’ reporting uncovered that the blown-out BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was spewing out far more oil than asserted in the official estimates. He covered the United Nations climate negotiations, starting with the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, followed by Kyoto in 1997 and Copenhagen in 2009. Harris was a major contributor to NPR’s award-winning 2007-2008 “Climate Connections” series.
Before joining NPR, Harris was a science writer for the San Francisco Examiner. From 1981 to 1983, Harris was a staff writer at The Tri-Valley Herald in Livermore, California, covering science, technology, and health issues. Under the auspices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Harris spent the summer of 1980 as a Mass Media Science Fellow reporting on science issues for The Washington Star, in Washington, D.C.
A California native, Harris was valedictorian of his graduating class at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1980. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology, with highest honors.
College of Liberal Arts
Global Sustainability Initiative
Center for the Environment
Purdue Oil Spil Community
Purdue Marketing and Media
- Cindy Ream
February 5, 2013
Purdue University researchers have received a five-year $14.5 million National Science Foundation grant to expand its widely used nanoHUB.org online science and engineering gateway. The Cyber Platform, a part of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN), will assist researchers across the globe by developing a virtual society that shares simulation software, data and other innovative content to provide engineers and scientists with the fundamental knowledge required to advance nanoscience into nanotechnology.Read Full Story
July 22, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue earth and atmospheric sciences professor Timothy Filley has been awarded a Chinese Academy of Sciences Visiting Professorship for Senior International Scientists, marking the university's first activity under a new Purdue-China EcoPartnership.Read Full Story
June 8, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University researchers recently took their miniature mass spectrometer grocery shopping to test for traces of chemicals on standard and organic produce.Read Full Story