The reception precedes Harris’ 4 p.m. lecture in the Knight Auditorium at Spurlock Museum. His talk, “Science Friction: What’s Slowing Progress in Research,” is part of the Center for Advanced Study’s MillerComm series.
Some studies suggest half of all published research findings are false, and many results from biomedical research labs can’t be reproduced by other scientists. Most ideas for new drugs fail to pan out because the underlying science turns out to be unreliable. And U.S. taxpayers spend more than $30 billion a year to support health research. From bench scientists to journal editors to the National Academy of Sciences, efforts are being made to understand the sources of what some have referred to as the “reproducibility crisis” and find ways to improve matters. Harris’ talk will focus on this topic, which is explored in his new book, “Rigor Mortis.”
An award-winning journalist, Harris has reported on a wide range of topics in science, medicine, and the environment since he joined NPR in 1986. In early 2014, his focus shifted from an emphasis on climate change and the environment to biomedical research.
Harris has traveled to all seven continents 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, the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro (for a story about tuberculosis), and Japan to cover the nuclear aftermath of the 2011 tsunami.
Over the course of his career, Harris has been the recipient of many awards. Those include the American Geophysical Union's 2013 Presidential Citation for Science and Society. He shared the 2009 National Academy of Sciences Communication Award and was a finalist again in 2011.