Geoff Brumfiel

Science editor Geoff Brumfiel oversees coverage of everything from butterflies to black holes across NPR News programs and on NPR.org.

Prior to becoming the editor for fundamental research news in April of 2016, Brumfiel worked for three years as a reporter covering physics and space. Brumfiel has carried his microphone into ghost villages created by the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. He's tracked the journey of highly enriched uranium as it was shipped out of Poland. For a story on how animals drink, he crouched for over an hour and tried to convince his neighbor's cat to lap a bowl of milk.

Before NPR, Brumfiel was based in London as a senior reporter for Nature Magazine from 2007-2013. There he covered energy, space, climate, and the physical sciences. In addition to reporting, he was a member of the award-winning Nature podcast team. From 2002 – 2007, Brumfiel was Nature Magazine's Washington Correspondent, reporting on Congress, the Bush administration, NASA, and the National Science Foundation, as well as the Departments of Energy and Defense.

He began his journalism career working on the American Physical Society's "Focus" website, which is now part of Physics.

Brumfiel is the 2013 winner of the Association of British Science Writers award for news reporting on the Fukushima nuclear accident.

He graduated from Grinnell College with a BA double degree in physics and English, and earned his Masters in science writing from Johns Hopkins University.

In what could mark an escalation of tensions with the West, commercial satellite images suggest that Russia is moving a new generation of nuclear-capable missiles into Eastern Europe. Russia appears to be preparing to permanently base its Iskander missile system in Kaliningrad, a sliver of territory it controls along the Baltic coast between Lithuania and Poland. Arms control experts shared fresh satellite imagery with NPR, which they say provides evidence that the Iskander will soon be...

Scientists have pinpointed the ticklish bit of a rat's brain. The results, published in the journal Science , are another step toward understanding the origins of ticklishness, and its purpose in social animals. Although virtually every human being on the planet has been tickled, scientists really don't understand why people are ticklish . The idea that a certain kind of touching could easily lead to laughter is confusing to a neuroscientist, says Shimpei Ishiyama , a postdoctoral research...

A report out this morning from Australian investigators offers a handful of new clues about the greatest aviation mystery of the 21st century: the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 . Based on a fresh satellite analysis and debris found on beaches along the African coast and several small islands, Australian investigators say they now believe the aircraft plunged rapidly into the southern Indian Ocean. The scenario might help answer questions about the plane's final minutes, but...

The remains of two gigantic dinosaurs discovered in Australia may shed light on how dinosaurs spread across the globe. The dinosaurs are both titanosaurs , massive plant-eaters with long necks and thick limbs. The first, a new species known as Savannasaurus elliottorum , was about half the length of a basketball court and lived about 95 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. Paleontologists also found the skull of a Diamantinasaurus matildae , which grew longer than a city bus and...

The news this week. For that reason, we're bringing you this photo of a baby elephant named Jotto cuddled up to an ostrich named Pea. Conservationists with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya came across Pea two years ago today, while they were rescuing a different infant elephant. The trust is well-known for its rescue and rehabilitation program for orphaned elephants. Pea and her brother, Pod, were brought back to its Nairobi nursery to be raised as part of the elephant herd. Pod...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: The Nobel Prize in physics this morning has been awarded to three scientists. They won for their work exploring new phases of matter. Joining us to talk about the winners is NPR's science editor, Geoff Brumfiel. Good morning. GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Good morning. MONTAGNE: Let's start with these researchers. Who are they? BRUMFIEL: They are David Thouless of the University of Washington Seattle, Duncan Haldane...

When it comes to waves, it doesn't get much bigger than the gravitational variety. Einstein predicted that huge events — like black holes merging — create gravitational waves. Unlike most waves we experience, these are distortions in space and time. They roll across the entire universe virtually unimpeded. Einstein first predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916, but none were spotted until recently. Given their incredible power, why did it take a century to locate them? To find...

Updated at 6:30 a.m. ET A small plane on a daring winter evacuation mission from the South Pole landed safely Wednesday night at Punta Arenas, Chile. The National Science Foundation, which runs the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station , says the Twin Otter rescue aircraft took off from the South Pole with two patients early Wednesday. It arrived at a British base 1,500 miles away shortly after 1 p.m. ET before continuing on to Chile. The South Pole station is staffed year round, but normally...

Scientists announced Wednesday that they have once again detected ripples in space and time from two black holes colliding far away in the universe. The discovery comes just months after the first-ever detection of such "gravitational waves," and it suggests that smaller-sized black holes might be more numerous than many had thought. "It looks like there are going to be more of these black holes out there than we imagined," says David Reitze , the executive director of the Laser...

House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a plan to update a 40-year-old law regulating the safety of chemicals. The bipartisan legislation would update the Toxic Substances Control Act , which became law in 1976. The original act gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to require testing and reporting of potentially harmful chemicals. But as NPR's Jon Hamilton reports, the law didn't apply to most chemicals already on the market: "It assumed that thousands of untested...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The National Institutes of Health is overhauling the leadership of its world-renowned Clinical Center, after an independent task force found the center was putting research ahead of patient safety. As NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce has reported , the Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., is the largest research hospital in the world. Patients come from across the country seeking its experimental therapies. But a recent independent review found safety problems at two laboratories, including one run by...

Scientists have had a literal breakthrough off the coast of Mexico. After weeks of drilling from an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico, they have reached rocks left over from the day the Earth was hit by a killer asteroid . The cataclysm is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs. "This was probably the most important event in the last 100 million years," says Joanna Morgan , a geophysicist at Imperial College in London and a leader of the expedition. Since the 1980s, researchers have...

A small mammal has sabotaged the world's most powerful scientific instrument. The Large Hadron Collider , a 17-mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, went offline overnight. Engineers investigating the mishap found the charred remains of a furry creature near a gnawed-through power cable. "We had electrical problems, and we are pretty sure this was caused by a small animal," says Arnaud Marsollier, head of press for CERN , the...

On Tuesday, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced a plan to send interstellar probes to the Alpha Centauri star system. The audacious project would use a giant laser on Earth to accelerate scores of postage-stamp-size spacecraft to nearly the speed of light. They would cross the void in just 20 years — virtually no time on the scale of interstellar travel. The plan for " Breakthrough Starshot " laid out at the news conference looks both ambitious...

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