Christopher Joyce

Christopher Joyce is a correspondent on the science desk at NPR. His stories can be heard on all of NPR's news programs, including NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

Joyce seeks out stories in some of the world's most inaccessible places. He has reported from remote villages in the Amazon and Central American rainforests, Tibetan outposts in the mountains of western China, and the bottom of an abandoned copper mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Over the course of his career, Joyce has written stories about volcanoes, hurricanes, human evolution, tagging giant blue-fin tuna, climate change, wars in Kosovo and Iraq and the artificial insemination of an African elephant.

For several years, Joyce was an editor and correspondent for NPR's Radio Expeditions, a documentary program on natural history and disappearing cultures produced in collaboration with the National Geographic Society that was heard frequently on Morning Edition.

Joyce came to NPR in 1993 as a part-time editor while finishing a book about tropical rainforests and, as he says, "I just fell in love with radio." For two years, Joyce worked on NPR's national desk and was responsible for NPR's Western coverage. But his interest in science and technology soon launched him into parallel work on NPR's science desk.

In addition, Joyce has written two non-fiction books on scientific topics for the popular market: Witnesses from the Grave: The Stories Bones Tell (with co-author Eric Stover); and Earthly Goods: Medicine-Hunting in the Rainforest.

Before coming to NPR, Joyce worked for ten years as the U.S. correspondent and editor for the British weekly magazine New Scientist.

Joyce's stories on forensic investigations into the massacres in Kosovo and Bosnia were part of NPR's war coverage that won a 1999 Overseas Press Club award. He was part of the Radio Expeditions reporting and editing team that won the 2001 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University journalism award and the 2001 Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Joyce won the 2001 American Association for the Advancement of Science excellence in journalism award.

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1:19pm

Tue September 20, 2011
Humans

Quays Focus 'Weeping Glass' On The Mutter Museum

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:23 am

The Quay Brothers, filming Through The Weeping Glass at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. The Quays started filming without a script or a storyline.
Edward Waisnis Behind the Scenes with the Quay Brothers

The notion of "beauty" can mean many different things to artists. For the Brothers Quay — identical-twin filmmakers — it often means dimly lit black and white images of animated dolls, screws, cogs — any manner of inanimate object brought to life. They're so good at it that fellow filmmaker Terry Gilliam called the Quays' Street of Crocodiles one of the best animated films of all time.

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12:01am

Wed September 14, 2011
Animals

Bone To Pick: First T. Rex Skeleton, Complete At Last

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When the T. rex skeleton was first put on display, it was presented standing vertically, in this Godzilla-like pose, as seen at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History around 1950. Recent studies show the dinosaur actually kept its body horizontal. Watch the videos here to see how T. rex walked.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The back rooms of museums are like your grandparents' attic, only the stuff is more exotic — things like fossilized jellyfish, dinosaur eggs, or mummified princes.

And if you look carefully, you'll find objects that once changed science but are now largely forgotten. You might call them Lost Treasures of Science. This is a story of one of those objects — a special bone that's part of a special skeleton.

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3:53pm

Thu September 8, 2011
Humans

'Mosaic' Fossil Could Be Bridge From Apes To Humans

The fossil of Australopithecus sediba could be the long-sought transition between ape-like ancestors and the first humans. "It shows a small brain, but a brain that's beginning to reorganize in some ways that resemble our brain," says anthropologist Lee Berger.
Brett Eloff via Lee Berger University of Witwatersrand

A pair of fossils from a South African cave have scientists both excited and puzzled. Scientists say the fossils — an adult female and a juvenile — could be the long-sought transition between ape-like ancestors and the first humans.

The bones belong to creatures related to the famous Lucy fossil found in Ethiopia in the 1970s, but their owners lived more recently, just two million years ago.

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12:01am

Fri September 2, 2011
Science

An Ice Age Beast Evolved To Beat The Cold

An artist's reconstruction of the Tibetan woolly rhino. Woolly rhinos used their flattened horns to sweep snow off of vegetation, a critical adaptation to survive frigid conditions.
Image by Julie Naylor

The Tibetan Plateau is the world's highest place. It's four times the size of France and home to most of the world's highest mountains.

As you might expect, it's cold there. And it may be that the deep chill of the Tibetan Plateau played a role in the evolution of some of the world's most charismatic animals.

That's the belief of a scientist who discovered the skull of a woolly rhino on the Tibetan Plateau.

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12:01am

Wed August 31, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Cell Phones Could Help Doctors Stay Ahead Of An Epidemic

Two women check their cell phones as they hawk their wares on a bridge over the Artibonite river, whose waters are believed to be the source of Haiti's 2010 cholera outbreak.
NICHOLAS KAMM AFP/Getty Images

The year 2010 was a very bad one for Haiti. It started with an earthquake that killed over 300,000 people, mostly in the crowded capital of Port-au-Prince. After that, cholera originating in a U.N. camp broke out in a northern province and eventually spread to the city.

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3:23pm

Wed August 24, 2011
Energy

Restarting Libya's Valuable Oil Exports Won't Be Easy

A Libyan rebel stands guard at the entrance to the Zawiya oil refinery, about 30 miles west of Tripoli, on Aug. 19. Libyan rebels taken complete control of the key oil refinery. Before the conflict, Libya supplied 2 percent of the world's oil, but restarting oil field operations won't be a simple task.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

The light at the end of the tunnel for Libyans isn't just an end to the Moammar Gadhafi regime — it's also "light sweet crude."

Oil provides most of Libya's income. But the revolution there has strangled exports for months and starved the country of revenue and also temporarily bumped up world oil prices. So there's a lot of interest inside Libya and internationally in getting the country's oil wells up and running again.

The question is, when?

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4:59am

Tue August 2, 2011
Energy

Worries Over Water As Natural Gas Fracking Expands

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 2:24 pm

Workers move a section of well casing into place at a natural gas drilling rig near Burlington, Pa. The industry is expected to drill as many as 10,000 new wells in the next few years.
Ralph Wilson AP

Drive through northern Pennsylvania and you'll see barns, cows, silos and drilling rigs perched on big, concrete pads.

Pennsylvania is at the center of a natural gas boom. New technology is pushing gas out of huge shale deposits underground. That's created jobs and wealth, but it may be damaging drinking water. That's because when you "frack," as hydraulic fracturing is called, you pump millions of gallons of fluids underground. That cracks the shale a mile deep and drives natural gas up to the surface — gas that otherwise could never be tapped.

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