About Chip Walter
Chip Walter is a filmmaker, science journalist and author. He has written three mainstream science books — Space Age for Random House, the companion volume to the primetime PBS series of the same title; I'm Working on That (Simon and Schuster), written with William Shatner; and Thumbs, Toes and Tears — And Other Traits That Make Us Human (Walker Books), his most recent. They cover an unusually broad spectrum of science and human behavior, from astrophysics and evolution to cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence. But at the bottom of each book lay two fundamental questions: where did we come from, and why do we do the remarkable, perplexing, sometimes despicable things we do?
Chip is also a former CNN Bureau Chief and feature film screenwriter. He has served as National Programming Executive at PBS station WQED-TV, CEO of Digital Alchemy Inc. and Vice-President and Executive Producer of ENGAGE Games Online. He is currently an adjunct writing professor at Carnegie Mellon University and has begun work on his fourth book, also about human nature, tentatively titled Decoded – One Man’s Dogged Quest to Find Out Why We Do, Feel and Think the Things We Do. Over the years his work has taken him to every continent but Antarctica. He hopes to make it there soon. "Preferably in the summer," he says.
Chip's work as a science journalist has included writing and producing several award-winning science documentaries for PBS, each a collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences. Two of these include programs for the Emmy Award winning series Planet Earth, a third for Infinite Voyage - the first PBS series to air on national commercial television. He helped to develop Infinite Voyage and wrote and directed its third program, “Fires of the Mind,” an investigation of the evolution of human intelligence. Variety called the show, "Handsomely produced, beautifully written...a fascinating hour." The Village Voice wrote that it delivered "a sense of human accomplishment, which is the true ambition of science on the air." He also developed the Space Age series for PBS, again with the National Academy of Sciences, before writing the series' companion book. Following his work as a producer at WQED-TV’s Los Angeles office, Chip served as the station's Nation Programming Executive from 1991 to 1993 where he focused on developing new national projects.
Over the course of his career Chip has been - let's face it! - all over the map which have included an assortment of scientific fields and business ventures from anthropology, nanotechnology, digital media, online games, robotics, cybersecurity, online communications and computer science. Of the hundreds of scientists Chip has interviewed, he's been lucky enough to meet, and, in some cases, develop enduring relationships with groundbreaking thinkers. Some of the scientists Chip has interviewed include Nobel laureates Luis Alvarez and Gerald Edelman. Eric Drexler, father of the field of nanotechnology, Kip Thorne (theoretical physics), Hans Moravec (robotics), Ray Kurzweil (artificial intelligence), Mark Kryder (digital storage pioneer), Mike Gazzaniga (cognitive science), Donald Johanson (anthropology), and Lynn Margulis (microbiology).
Chip also spent part of his career as a Hollywood screenwriter. He's sold screenplays to Columbia-Tri Star, Universal and Warner Bros. His first movie script was rewritten (not by him — he was busy writing Space Age) into a movie he heartily encourages you to avoid entitled Sunset Grill starring Peter Weller, Lori Singer, John Rhys-Davies and Stacy Keach. "They took a bad script," observes Chip, "and made it worse." (He still has a credit on the movie, though he'd rather not.) His other scripts Newsboy and Big Medicine remain in what he terms "turn-around hell," which is to say they will never see the light of day, let alone the lights on a movie set. "But I did sell them," he points out. "And any time I’m paid for something I write, that’s like getting paid to play shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates."
Chip now devotes most of his time to raising his two daughters, writing, and working at Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Green Science where he directs educational strategy and outreach. He has contributed to a broad variety of publications including The Boston Globe, The Economist, Technology Review, Scientific American, Scientific American’s Mind magazine and Discover.
Chip has also consulted with several nationally recognized organizations to develop creative online business strategies, content, and services in an effort to help them better understand the effects of emerging technologies on their business and customers. His clients have included The National Geographic Society, Ketchum Inc., Education Management Corporation, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Blattner Brunner Advertising, and many other companies, large and small.
Look for Chip, or at least for his latest book, at a bookstore near you, or find it on the World Wide Web at these locations: