This 10 year old online scientific journal has just won its first Pulitzer

The idea that humanity can peek into a mirror and see a “cosmic dawn” is almost unbelievable. Apart from the fact that Natalie Wolchover from Quanta magazine explained it so poetically, so completely that even plebeians like me could understand that it is not only possible to “witness how the first stars twinkle”, but it could actually reveal much more – including extraterrestrial life.

On May 9, Quanta Magazine staff, especially Wolchover, won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting 2022 “for reporting that revealed the complexity of building the James Webb Space Telescope, designed to enable revolutionary astronomical and cosmological research.”

This is the first Pulitzer to be awarded to a 10-year-old online scientific journal, the independent publication Simons Foundation. It is also Wolchover’s first Pulitzer, an honor she learned while ill in bed from COVID-19.

Wolchover graduated in physics from Tufts University and studied physics in graduate school at the University of California-Berkeley before leaving the academy and becoming a science journalist. She has won numerous scientific awards, including the 2016 Statistical Reporting Excellence Award and the 2017 American Institute of Physics Articles for Scientific Communication Award.

Pulitzer Prize-winning work describes the incredible existence of the Webb Space Telescope, as well as all the potential misconceptions it may have faced when it was launched in December 2021. By the end of Quant’s report, readers join prominent astronomers and researchers – including a mother-daughter duo – .

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

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