Reporter, The Washington Post

Joel Achenbach has been a staff writer for The Washington Post since 1990, started the newsroom’s first online column, “Rough Draft,” in 1999, and started’s first blog, Achenblog, in 2005. His seventh book, “A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea,” an account of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and its aftermath, was published in April 2011. His other books include “The Grand Idea: George Washington’s Potomac and the Race to the West” (2004) and “Captured By Aliens: The Search for Life and Truth in a Very Large Universe” (1999). His syndicated column Why Things Are (1988-1996), which he began when he worked at the Miami Herald, appeared in 50 newspapers; three collections of the column were published by Ballantine Books. He has been a regular contributor to National Geographic since 1998, writing stories on such topics as dinosaurs, particle physics, earthquakes, extraterrestrial life, megafauna extinction and the electrical grid. Now assigned to The Post’s national desk, he writes on science and politics. A 1982 graduate of Princeton University, he has taught journalism at Princeton and Georgetown University. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Mary Stapp, and three daughters.