Senior Science Writer, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
300 South Craig St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Ken Chiacchia is PSC’s science writer, responsible for media outreach as well as writing stories about the research enabled by PSC and about the unique technological resources that make it all possible. He also serves as a member of XSEDE’s External Relations Group, crafting pieces about the larger organization as well as the many collaborations PSC undertakes with its XSEDE partners.
Ken is a defrocked biochemist who, surprisingly late in a PhD program, realized that he didn’t have the patience to do research. He did, however, absolutely love talking, reading and writing about just about everything from cosmology to chemistry to physics, social science, humanities and yes, even biology. He spent some years writing about biomedical science for various universities and hospitals, with side-trips to freelance reporting for publications such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh City Paper, as well as a stint as a radio commentator for The Allegheny Front. In 2013, he came to PSC to enjoy the amazing diversity of research enabled by PSC’s resources and its staff.
A minor speculative fiction author, Ken has published short stories in a number of professional and semiprofessional markets (search for “Kenneth B. Chiacchia”). The third hat he wears is as a volunteer search and rescue dog handler with Mountaineer Area Rescue Group of Morgantown, WV, a role in which he—irony alert—is now back to doing research, on quantifying lost-person search operations (his papers are among those listed at https://www.psc.edu/news-publications/pscstaffpubs). He’s also a volunteer firefighter with the Harmony Fire District, Butler County, Pa. Finally, he is the unskilled labor for a small homestead farm in western Pa. run by his wife, who assures him she is indeed the boss of him.
Ken was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, with all that entails. Not a surprise to those who know the school and its peripatetic graduates, he is also the bearer of a bachelor of arts (!) degree in biological sciences from the University of Chicago. Through bloody-minded persistence he somehow also managed to emerge from Guido Guidotti’s lab in what was then the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Harvard University with his skin intact and a PhD in hand.
He has not yet gotten to write about dinosaurs.