K. C. Cole

STS Faculty

Professor, Annenberg School of Journalism

Phone: (213) 740-3950
Phone: (213) 740-3950
K.C. Cole, a long-time science writer for the Los Angeles Times, is a professor at USC Annenberg's School of Journalism. Cole’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Smithsonian, The Columbia Journalism Review, Newsweek, Esquire, Ms., The Washington Post and many other publications; her work was featured in The Best American Science Writing 2004 and 2005, and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2002.

Described by as “the Leonardo da Vinci of science writing,” she is the author of eight nonfiction books, most recently, “Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up"—a memoir/biography of her late mentor, the self-proclaimed “uncle” of the atomic bomb and founder of San Francisco’s world-renowned “museum of awareness,” the Exploratorium. Her other books include The Universe and the Teacup: The Mathematics of Truth and Beauty — a national best-seller translated into a dozen languages — Mind Over Matter: Conversations with the Cosmos, based on her LA Times columns, The Hole in the Universe and First You Build a Cloud.

Cole’s recent radio commentaries can be heard on American Public Media's Marketplace; she was also a science commentator for KPCC (Southern California Public Radio) and year-end commentator for NPR’s Science Friday and BBC’s World Service. Before coming to USC, she developed and taught courses on science writing and culture at Yale, Wesleyan and UCLA.

Among her most treasured awards are the American Institute of Physics prize for science writing, the Los Angeles Times award for Explanatory Journalism, the Edward R. Murrow Award for “thoughtful coverage of scientific controversies” from the Skeptics Society, and the Exploratorium’s public understanding of science award, presented by Frank Oppenheimer the year before his death.

She grew up in Rio de Janeiro and Port Washington, and has lived in Shaker Heights, San Francisco and Westport CT. She received her B.A. from Barnard College in political science, and then spent several years living in Eastern Europe, where she wrote her first published article for the New York Times Sunday Magazine on the political situation in Czechoslovakia in 1970. For many years, she wrote about politics, women’s issues, travel and education before meeting Frank Oppenheimer and becoming entranced with science. She currently resides in Santa Monica. Her daughter, Liz, works at Skylight Books in Los Felix, LA. Her son, Pete, lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

Cole likes to play with the natural connections between science, art, politics, whatnot, and hosts an irregular series of events exploring these intersections at Santa Monica Art Studios known as Categorically Not!

Anne Balsamo
Daniela Bleichmar
K. C. Cole
Manuel Castells
Antonio Damasio
Susan Forsburg
G. Clinton Godart
Deborah Harkness
Katie Hasson
Andrew Lakoff
Dan Lainer-Vos
Paul Lerner
Shrikanth Narayanan
John Brooks Slaughter
Mark Thompson