Paula Apsell Senior Executive Producer NOVA 1985-2018

Science Journalist, Filmmaker, Lecturer, Commentator on Science and Engineering Policy

Welcome to Paula Apsell, Senior Executive Producer Emerita of PBS’s Nova, is widely considered among the most influential journalists in science, engineering and science communications in the United States and across the globe. Paula Apsell will use this website as an outlet to share some of her thoughts and observations gathered over a career spanning 33 years at the helm of NOVA, the most popular and highly respected science series on American television and online.

Graduating with honors from Brandeis University, Paula Apsell was hired by WGBH Boston in 1969 to type the station logs, a job she notes is now mercifully automated. Her intense work ethic quickly paid off as she created and directed the acclaimed radio drama program for children The Spider’s Web on WGBH-FM. From there, she entered broadcast journalism, producing the station’s daily newscast and reporting from the Massachusetts Statehouse.

After several years, her experience in journalism and passion for science earned Paula Apsell the opportunity to move over to WGBH-TV as a production assistant on the fledgling science series NOVA, now in its second season ion PBS. Moving up the ranks, she produced several NOVA episodes on topics as varied as genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and flight safety. Including the first television documentary on what is regarded as one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, smallpox eradication. After spending a year as a science journalism fellow at MIT, Apsell was asked to take over the top post at NOVA and she remained there for more than three-and-a-half decades. Paula Apsell accumulated countless accolades during her time with NOVA, which include:

  • Boston Museum of Science Bradford Washburn Award
  • Carl Sagan Award of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents
  • 26 Emmy Awards for NOVA
  • International Documentary Association’s Pioneer Award
  • The Planetary Society’s Cosmos Award
  • Several Peabody and duPont-Columbia University Awards including the Gold Baton
  • Prix Gallen Pro Bono Humanum USA Award
  • 2018 Lifetime Achievement Emmy of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented by PBS President Paula Kerger

Be sure to check back often as Paula Apsell will be updating the website regularly with blog posts that provide her insights on the top issues in science and engineering facing our society today.