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
June 22, 2016
Groups of high schoolers eagerly lined up Tuesday morning at Purdue University to test how well their handcrafted wind turbines would perform when stacked against the power of four fans. The kids were competing to create a turbine that would generate the most energy as a part of a challenge for the Duke Energy Academy at Purdue. The annual academy, now in its fifth year, brings in U.S. high school students to learn about renewable energy with hopes they'll be inspired to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and solve energy challenges. "We want these students to be the leaders of tomorrow," said Pankaj Sharma, managing director of the Purdue Energy Center and Global Sustainability Institute. The academy lasts throughout the week and is hosting 52 students and 27 teachers from mainly Indiana schools, though about 20 percent come from outside states, said Tolu Omotoso, a civil engineering graduate student and coordinator for the academy.Read Full Story