Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

NPR Science Correspondent Joe Palca Delivers Hill Lecture

Joe PalcaJoe Palca, award-winning science correspondent for National Public Radio, gave the annual Alfred and Julia Hill Lecture on March 24, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The title of Palca’s talk was “Explaining the Universe in Two Minutes or Less.” 

During his presentation, Palca demonstrated that anything, even complex subjects like quantum physics, can be explained at a certain level of abstraction in two minutes or less.

During his visit, Palca also taught a master class for nominated students interested in writing about science for the general public. 

“Joe has an amazing ability to make science—all kinds of science—understandable and fascinating to the public,” said Mark Littmann, Julia G. and Alfred G Hill Chair of Excellence in Science Writing. “That makes him a cultural treasure. It’s such a pleasure to have him deliver our Hill Lecture.”

Palca received his doctorate in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Since joining NPR in 1992, he has covered the entire spectrum of science, technology and medicine. He also has won top science journalism awards from the National Academies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society and more. 

The Alfred and Julia Hill Lecture series hosts distinguished science journalists to share their thoughts on science, society and the mass media. The lectures are made possible through an endowment by Tom Hill and Mary Frances Hill Holton in honor of their parents, Alfred and Julia Hill, founders of the Oak Ridger. The endowment of the lecture series was a gift to the UT School of Journalism and Electronic Media.