Award-winning science journalist Alison Richards is deputy supervising senior editor for NPR's science desk.
On a daily basis, she manages the desk's output of science, environmental and technical stories; edits Robert Krulwich’s pieces; and helps bring highlights of WNYC's Radiolab to Morning Edition.
Richards initiates major science features and series for NPR. She was the architect and lead editor of the year long “Climate Connections” series with National Geographic. In 2008, this global series was a finalist for the prestigious Grantham Prize and the National Academies Communication Award. In addition, Richards shared the top award in 2009 from the National Academies for the digital and multimedia presentation of this series.
In 2010, Richards worked with NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris on his groundbreaking reporting of the amount of oil spilling from BP’s Deepwater Horizon Well in the Gulf of Mexico. She was the lead editor on the 20-part series on human evolution called the “Human Edge,” which explored the key changes that give modern humans the competitive edge over early ancestors through a variety of storytelling formats on air and on npr.org.
Before joining NPR in 1998, Richards worked for the Smithsonian. She came to the United States after working for many years with the BBC’s radio science unit in London. Prior to the BBC, Richards worked on museum exhibits for the Royal Shakespeare Theater and the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.
Richards’ books include A Passion for Science and Passionate Minds, both co-authored with Lewis Wolpert, and A Paradise out of a Common Field and The New Book of Apples, both co-authored with Joan Morgan.
Born in the United Kingdom, Richards has a master’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford.
Made with breadcrumbs, milk, onion and spices, bread sauce is a key part of traditional English Christmas dinners. It's a culinary relic of medieval times when bread-soaked sauces were all the rage.
A Halloween apple was once a powerful symbol of fertility and immortality. In Europe and the early years of America, girls used apples and apple peels to divine their romantic destiny.
Some food holidays are pure marketing, but at least this one has a bit of Olympic history behind it. Some of the first Olympians were said to have dined on cheesecakes, although they sound a bit different from cheesecakes today.
The Tunisian bric is just one of many stuffed pastries eaten daily across the former Ottoman Empire.
My mother always made Christmas puddings. Nowadays, my sister and brother-in-law send me one every year from England. They use a mid-Victorian recipe handed down from a Quaker. Unlike other Christmas treats, a well-made, properly sealed Christmas pudding will keep for a year, or more.
Magpies and crows are well-known for their habit of collecting odds and ends in their nests. Not so very different, the thinking goes, from the way medieval cooks assembled ingredients for their pies.