Natalie Wolchover, an award-winning science writer with Quanta Magazine, has been named the Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences for spring 2022.
The program brings accomplished journalists to Cornell each year to interact with faculty, researchers and students. Marc Lacey ’87, assistant managing editor for The New York Times, was the inaugural distinguished journalist in 2020. Molly O’Toole ’09, a Pulitzer Prize-winning immigration and security reporter with the Los Angeles Times, is the fall 2021 Zubrow Fellow.
Wolchover has been with Quanta, covering the physical sciences and mathematics, since the magazine’s launch in 2013. Her articles are often syndicated to sites such as Wired, Business Insider, Nautilus and The Atlantic. Wolchover has also reported for Nature, the New Yorker and Popular Science, among others.
“Natalie’s writing is followed closely by other journalists as well as the broader public, so she wields considerable influence when it comes to science coverage,” said Ray Jayawardhana, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, who founded the program. “We are looking forward to introducing Natalie to the Cornell community and sharing with her the front-line research being done here.”
Wolchover said she relishes the opportunity to spend time at Cornell as a Zubrow Fellow.
“Part of what makes the fellowship so appealing is the freedom to decide how to spend the time,” she said. “I look forward to wide-ranging discussions with physicists, astronomers, mathematicians and other faculty and staff about important trends and developments in their domains, deepening my knowledge of the fields I cover. And it will be an honor to give guest lectures and meet with students to share my approach to my craft, in hopes of inspiring and informing the next crop of intrepid science journalists and communicators that our society so badly needs.”
As an undergraduate at Tufts University – where she received a bachelor’s degree in physics – Wolchover co-authored several papers published in peer-reviewed journals on nonlinear optics. As a science writer, she has covered topics in the physical sciences, including particle physics, quantum computing, climate change and gravitational waves.
Her awards include the Science Communication Award from the American Institute of Physics and the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award from the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.
Wolchover will spend two weeks on campus in the spring semester of 2022. She is expected to host a public Arts Unplugged event on “The Science of the Very, Very Small,” as well as meet with students and faculty interested in journalism and the media, make guest presentations in classes, tour the extensive science facilities on campus, and learn about the research, scholarship and creative works being done at Cornell.
The Advisory Committee for the visiting journalist program, which includes Jayawardhana and Joel Malina, vice president for university relations, welcomed three new members this Fall: Kaushik Basu, the Carl Marks Professor of International Studies in the Department of Economics; Itai Cohen, professor of physics; and Riché Richardson, professor of Africana studies, all in A&S. Jayawardhana expressed his appreciation to the outgoing members of the committee for their service: Noliwe Rooks, former W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Africana studies; Steven Strogatz, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics; and Jessica Chen Weiss, associate professor of government (all in A&S).
The Distinguished Visiting Journalist program is funded through a significant endowment from Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 and Barry Zubrow, as well as additional philanthropic support from Jay Branegan ’72, Rose Gutfeld Edwards ’78 and the Dr. Guinevere Griest ’44 Fund for Public Engagement in A&S.
Linda B. Glaser is news and media relations manager for the College of Arts and Sciences.