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About John Rennie

John Rennie (photo by Spencer Heyfron)

John Rennie (photo by Spencer Heyfron)

John Rennie is an award-winning science writer, editor and lecturer based in New York. He is best known for his 15 years as editor in chief of Scientific American, and for his current work as deputy editor for biology for Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent science publication of the Simons Foundation. He was also the editorial director of McGraw-Hill Education's AccessScience, the highly respected online reference that carries on the tradition of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology. Viewers of The Weather Channel may remember him as the host of the 2013 series Hacking The Planet and co-host of the hit special The Truth About Twisters.

Rennie, who joined Scientific American in 1989, served as its editor in chief (managing the monthly magazine, Scientific American Mind, ScientificAmerican.com and other publications) between 1994 and 2009. During his tenure, the magazine twice won National Magazine Awards, with the single-topic issues What You Need to Know about Cancer (Sept. 1996) and A Matter of Time (Sept. 2002). His satirical editorial essay “Okay, We Give Up” (April 2005) was also a finalist in the Essay and Commentary category. His 2002 article, “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense,” is one of the most read and downloaded articles in the history of ScientificAmerican.com.

From 2011 to 2013, he wrote “The Savvy Scientist” column for the online magazine SmartPlanet. He has been an editor at large for the magazine site Txchnologist and Ecomagination (sponsored by GE).

Follow his ongoing commentary on science, technology, medicine and other matters on Twitter at @tvjrennie.

In addition to his work on Hacking The Planet, Rennie’s numerous television and radio appearances include PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer, ABC World News Now, The CBS Early Show, the History Channel specials How the Earth Made Man and Clash of the Cavemen, Discovery’s Apocalypse How, NPR’s Science Friday, Minnesota Public Radio’s Marketplace and many other programs. As a frequent public speaker, Rennie has appeared before audiences at the World Innovation Forum, the World Congress of Science Journalists, the World Life Sciences Forum, the World Science Festival, the Wharton School of Business, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Tennessee School of Journalism, Middlebury College, Williams College and many other events and institutions.

Since 2009, he has been an adjunct instructor in the graduate Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University. He was a member of the faculty of the Banff Science Communication program at the Banff Arts Centre in Alberta, Canada. He has also taught at educational workshops organized by COMPASS, Canada’s Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, the Rockefeller University and other organizations to help scientists and other specialists communicate better with the public.

In 2000, Rennie received the Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science from the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. In Sept. 2003, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies honored him with its Navigator Award for distinguished service in support of national science and technology policy. 

Rennie currently serves on the board of directors for The Story Collider and on the board of managers for the Vanderbilt Branch of the YMCA in New York City. From 2014 to 2017, he was co-chair of the Committee on Digital Innovation within the Professional/Scholarly Publishing (PSP) division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP).