Bina Venkataraman, Future Tense Fellow and Carnegie Fellow, is an American journalist, author, and science policy expert. She is currently the editorial page editor of the Boston Globe. Since 2011, she has taught in the program on science, technology, and society at MIT. She is the author of The Optimist’s Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age (Riverhead, 2019), named a top business book by The Financial Times and a best book of the year by Amazon, Science Friday, and National Public Radio.
Venkataraman formerly served as senior advisor for climate change innovation in the Obama White House, where she forged partnerships among communities, companies, and government to prepare for climate disasters and to declassify data useful for global development. She also advised the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in responding to the Ebola epidemic, promoting patient access to cancer therapies, and reforming public school science education. She previously was the director of global policy initiatives at the Broad Institute of Harvard & MIT.
Venkataraman is a frequent public speaker whose appearances have included the TED mainstage, NPR, Aspen Ideas, MSNBC, CNN, and university campuses around the world. She is an alumna of Brown University and Harvard’s Kennedy School, and the recipient of a Fulbright, a Princeton in Asia fellowship, a Metcalf fellowship, and a James Reston fellowship. She was named a Global Young Leader by the French-American Foundation in 2015. She has served on numerous boards including the President’s Leadership Council at Brown University.
Venkataraman has worked in India, Alaska, Cuba, Mexico, Vietnam, and Guatemala; she grew up in a small town in Ohio. Her endeavors abroad and at home have included translating Spanish and English in emergency rooms, teaching writing to Harlem high school students, working the graveyard shift at a hotel in the Arctic wilderness, lobster fishing in Baja California Sur, and cataloguing films for a cinema critic in Havana.