This 10-year-old online science magazine just won its first Pulitzer


The idea that humanity can look in a mirror and glimpse the “cosmic dawn” is almost unbelievable. Except that Natalie Wolchover of Quanta Magazine explained it so poetically, so completely that even plebeians like me could understand that it’s not only possible to “see the first stars twinkle”, but that it could actually reveal so much more, including extraterrestrial life.

On May 9, Quanta Magazine staff, including Wolchover, won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Explaining Reporting “for coverage that revealed the intricacies of building the James Webb Space Telescope, designed to facilitate groundbreaking astronomical and cosmological research. “.

This is the first Pulitzer Award for the 10-year-old online science magazine, an independent publication of the Simons Foundation. It’s also Wolchover’s first Pulitzer, an honor she discovered while sick in bed with COVID-19.

Wolchover earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Tufts University and studied graduate-level physics at the University of California-Berkeley before leaving academia to become a science journalist. She has won numerous scientific awards, including the 2016 Award for Excellence in Statistical Reporting and the 2017 American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award for Papers.

Pulitzer’s award-winning work outlines the improbability of the Webb Space Telescope’s very existence, as well as any potential snafus it might have faced when it launched in December 2021. At the end of the Quanta cover, readers join featured astronomers and researchers, including a breathless mother-daughter duo.

About five months later, we learned that the rocket carrying the telescope had launched, reached operational orbit, and fully aligned its massive mirrors. The potential Wolchover talks about is closer than ever.


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