Host and Executive Producer, Talk of the Nation: Science Friday
Veteran NPR science correspondent and award-winning TV journalist Ira Flatow is the host of Talk of The Nation: Science Friday. He anchors the show each Friday, bringing radio and Internet listeners worldwide a lively, informative discussion on science, technology, health, space, and the environment. Ira is also founder and president of TalkingScience, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit company dedicated to creating radio, TV, and Internet projects that make science "user friendly."
Flatow's interest in things scientific began in boyhood -- he almost burned down his mother's bathroom trying to recreate a biology class experiment. "I was the proverbial kid who spent hours in the basement experimenting with electronic gizmos, and then entering them in high school science fairs," Flatow says.
Mixing his passion for science with a tendency toward being "a bit of a ham," Flatow describes his work as the challenge "to make science and technology a topic for discussion around the dinner table."
He has shared that enthusiasm with public radio listeners for more than 35 years. As a reporter and then news director at WBFO-FM/Buffalo, New York, Flatow began reporting at the station while studying for his engineering degree at State University of New York in Buffalo. As NPR's science correspondent from 1971 to 1986, Flatow found himself reporting from the Kennedy Space Center, Three Mile Island, Antarctica, and the South Pole. In one NPR report, Flatow took former All Things Considered host NPR's Susan Stamberg into a closet to crunch Wint-O-Green Lifesavers in the dark. Conducting the demonstration on the radio from inside the closet, Flatow proved that the Lifesavers do indeed spark when chewed.
His most recent book is entitled They All Laughed... From Light Bulbs to Lasers: The Fascinating Stories Behind the Great Inventions That Have Changed Our Lives (HarperCollins, New York). It followed on the heels of Rainbows, Curve Balls and Other Wonders of the Natural World Explained.
On television, Flatow has discussed the latest cutting edge science stories on the new digital Cablevision program Maximum Science. He is also host of the four-part PBS series Big Ideas produced by WNET in New York. His numerous TV credits include six years as host and writer for the Emmy-award-winning Newton's Apple on PBS; science reporter for CBS This Morning, Westinghouse, and cable's CNBC. He wrote, produced, and hosted "Transistorized!" an hour-long documentary about the history of the transistor, which aired on PBS. He has talked science on many TV talk shows including Merv Griffin, Today, Charlie Rose, and Oprah. He is currently exploring new and better ways of bringing science news to radio, TV, and the Internet.
On the Internet, Flatow has hosted numerous science-related Webcasts for Discovery Online and the American Museum of Natural History in New York . His Science Friday Kids' Connection Web pages won Home PC Magazine's award for one of the top 500 Web sites in the country.
In print, Ira has authored articles for various magazines ranging from Woman's Day to ESPN Magazine, to American Lawyer. His commentary has appeared in The Los Angeles Times and Current newspapers.
Public speaking and moderating discussions are a regular part of Ira's schedule. He has spoken at Rockefeller University, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard, Calvin Academy, Cal Tech, MIT, Harvard, University of Wisconsin, OSHU, National Inventor's Hall of Fame, and the Kentucky Author Forum.
His recent honors include: the Elizabeth Wood Writing Award from the American Crystallographic Assoc. (2002), AAAS Journalism award (2000), Brady Washburn Award (2000), the Carl Sagan Award (1999).
Ira is member of the National Association of Science Writers.
His hobbies include gardening (especially orchids), tropical fish, and electronic gadgets. He loves the theater.
A native of New York, Flatow now lives in Connecticut.