Live chat: Science through the decades with reporter David Perlman


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Long before laptops and cellphones, David Perlman was writing about science, albeit with a fountain pen. (As Times reporter Maria LaGanga recently wrote in a Column One feature, the ballpoint pen was invented the year Perlman got his first real newspaper gig.)

At 94, Perlman continues to cover science for the San Francisco Chronicle, a job he describes as ‘exactly what I wanted to do all my life.’


Perlman will join The Times for a live video chat Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. Pacific time to take your questions.

In his 56 years covering science, Perlman has written about the shifting sands of fields from astronomy to alternative energy. Over the decades, he’s written more about Mars than any other topic. In our discussion, we’ll explore how our knowledge and perceptions about the red planet have changed from his first story to his most recent.

We’ll also delve into what keeps him going, as well as what he sees as the biggest change in our scientific knowledge since he began writing about science in 1957.

Perlman bears a wealth of knowledge and perspective, and he carries the same curiosity that was sparked when he first heard five decades ago about how stars were born.

‘I’m so lucky still to be able to do something, to do what I do.... I’m still pretty OK,’ he told The Times’ LaGanga. ‘Anyway, as long as they’ll have me [at the Chronicle], I’ll stick around.’