Nationally acclaimed science writer to kick off inaugural writer-in-residence program
February 5, 2009
Paul Raeburn, a former science editor and senior writer at Business Week, will spend two days on the Virginia Tech campus March 23 and 24 as the College of Engineering's first guest speaker of the newly funded "Jebson-Nystrom Science and Technology Writer in Residence Endowment."
Bob Jebson of Culpeper, Va., a 1956 metallurgical engineering graduate and a member of the College of Engineering’s Committee of 100, founded Environmental Systems Service Limited in 1973, and now maintains three facilities in Virginia. Jebson is a pioneer in the testing of water, wastewater, and dairy products. He more recently expanded his company into food analysis.
An admirer of technology communication, Jebson directed a $50,000 gift to the College of Engineering’s public relations program, and worked with Lynn Nystrom, director of news and external relations for engineering, to develop the guidelines that call for a nationally recognized science and technology writer to spend a few days on campus each year.
Jebson said he “established this endowment to enable the college to sponsor a science/technology writer in residence program to interact with students and faculty and share ideas about Virginia Tech’s research and educational innovations with these distinguished guests.”
“When I first heard about Bob’s gift, I found it overwhelming,” Nystrom said. “His generosity is allowing Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering to have the first endowed public relations program in the country, I believe.
“Paul was the natural first choice for this seminar. His credentials, including his premier role in organizing the international New Horizons in Science Briefings, a meeting we hosted at Virginia Tech twice in the past three decades, are among the best of all of today’s science writers,” Nystrom said.
Raeburn is the author of the memoir “Acquainted with the Night: A Parent’s Quest to Understand Depression and Bipolar Disorder in His Children.” From 1996 to 2003, he was at Business Week magazine, and before that, he was the science editor and chief science correspondent at The Associated Press.
Raeburn is a commentator for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, and an occasional guest host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation: Science Friday.
Raeburn also is the author of “Mars,” published by the National Geographic Society in 1998, and “The Last Harvest,” published by Simon & Schuster in 1995. He has written for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Psychology Today, The Washington Post, Discover, Popular Science, Child, Self, Technology Review and many other newspapers and magazines.
Raeburn is a past president of the National Association of Science Writers and a recipient of its Science-in-Society Award. He also has received the Associated Press Managing Editors Award for excellence, two Deadline Club awards, two Computer Press Association awards, and the John P. McGovern Award for Excellence in Medical Communications from the American Medical Writers Association. He is an honorary member of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society.
Raeburn has been a journalism fellow at Stanford University, and science-writer-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor’s degree in physics. He also studied composition at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, and he plays piano and guitar. Before joining the AP, he worked for the Boston Phoenix and the Lowell (Mass.) Sun.
For more information on Raeburn’s visit, contact Nystrom at (540) 231-4371.