Joel Achenbach

Washington, D.C.

Reporter covering science and politics

Education: Princeton University, politics, 1982

Joel Achenbach writes about science and politics for The Washington Post's National desk. He has been a staff writer for The Post since 1990. He started the newsroom’s first online column, Rough Draft, in 1999, and started’s first blog, Achenblog, in 2005. He has been a regular contributor to National Geographic since 1998, writing on such topics as dinosaurs, particle physics, earthquakes, extraterrestrial life, megafauna extinction and the electrical grid. A 1982 graduate of Princeton University, he has taught journalism at Princeton and at Georgetown University.
Latest from Joel Achenbach

NASA releases spectacular image to celebrate James Webb Space Telescope

NASA is marking the anniversary of the JWST’s scientific debut with the release of a spectacular new image.

July 12, 2023

In a major discovery, scientists say space-time churns like a choppy sea

The claim of a gravitational wave background suggests the universe is constantly roiled by violent events that happened over the past 13 billion years.

June 28, 2023

Titan submersible plunged into exotic, dangerous world on way to Titanic

The bleak situation is a tragic reminder that when humans invade environments for which they are not adapted, there is minimal margin for error.

June 22, 2023

The mythos of the Titanic remains unsinkable, even if the ship wasn’t

The Titanic story has defied the rules of history, brightening rather than fading with time.

June 22, 2023

This alien ocean is the first known to have all elements crucial for life

The subsurface ocean on an icy moon of Saturn appears to have the ingredients needed for “habitability."

June 14, 2023

Covid was fourth leading cause of death in 2022, CDC data shows

Covid remained remarkably deadly, killing more than 500 people a day in 2022, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

May 4, 2023

NASA goes full throttle on Mars, but hits speed bumps on road to Venus

At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, leadership is steering this storied institution through an unusually rocky period

May 2, 2023

See the sharpest image yet of a supermassive black hole

The image can help theorists better understand the physics of black holes, while the technology used to create it can be applied to other types of research.

April 13, 2023

What we know about the origin of covid-19, and what remains a mystery

Where did the virus most likely come from, and who is investigating its source? Here’s what we know so far.

April 5, 2023

Genetic data links raccoon dogs to covid origin; WHO seeks China cooperation

A sample taken in a Wuhan market in early 2020 holds genetic traces of both the coronavirus and a small canid known as a raccoon dog, scientists report

March 17, 2023