Karen A. Frenkel

Science and Technology Writer

Karen A. Frenkel

Articles about Computer Science for Communications of the ACM


Scientists share knowledge and seek collaborators at computational sustainability conference.


For Table of Contents, excerpt, and reviews, please see My Works page and scroll down.

Computer scientists discuss the influence of Doug Engelbart's 1968 "Mother of All Demos" and imagine what might have been.

Science/Technology Reporter and Adjunct Instructor

Freelance Science and Technology Writer/​Reporter/​Blogger
I am an award-winning science/​technology journalist, editor, and author. I write for many kinds of readers: lay, professional, business, kids, and pretty much anyone interested in high-technology and science. I also have made two documentaries for public television about the impact of technology on society––one on women and computing, the other about elearning. I also write about the impact of science and technology on culture.

I began my career covering robotics and computer science and still report on both. What I love about these fields is that they are interdisciplinary. I contribute bi-weekly stories about surveys on mobile devices and security, The Internet of Things, virtual teams, the Cloud, Open Software, and project management for CIOInsight.com.

This fall I am returning to the realm of oral history as an interviewer. I have joined The Narrative Trust, which conducts and captures oral histories of institutions, communities, and individuals. We are working on an oral history of Wall Street and are video recording the stories of those who worked there from 1950 to 1980.

I have covered women and STEM for three decades. Last June and last November I wrote stories on black women in tech for Essence Magazine. I also report regularly on computer science for Communications of the ACM, the magazine of the Association for Computing Machinery. My stories on technology, innovation, and entrepreneurs have appeared in YoungEntrepreneur.com, Bloomberg Businessweek (Businessweek.com), Bloomberg.com, and FastCompany.com. Occasionally I write for Science Magazine, reporting for the News of the Week and News and Analysis sections, as well as for Science NOW. Stories also have recently appeared in U.S. News and World Report, Scientific American and ScientificAmerican.com.

I've extended the science areas I cover into neuroscience and am interested in the influences of research on the mind and brain on computer science and artificial intelligence, and vice versa. My newest blog is for The Foundation for Psychocultural Research, whose mission is to advance and support interdisciplinary research and training in neuroscience, psychiatry, and anthropology.

I also blogged and about science, technology and the arts for ScienceFriday.com, the site for the NPR show. You can see my reviews of operas, films, plays, and art exhibits pertaining to science in the blogs section in the column to the right, a little further down.

Creative Non-Fiction

My recent short stories have appeared on MrBellersNeighborhood.com, The East Hampton Star, and most recently The Jewish Literary Journal.

Scripts, Columns, and Earlier Online and Magazine Articles

I've written scripts for "The Loh Down on Science," a radio show hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh for Southern California Public Radio station 89.3 KPCC FM, broadcast out of California Institute of Technology. It was great to participate in injecting a little humor into science.

My first online writing experience was as the technology and culture columnist for CyberTimes, The New York Times on the Web. I continued in print, though, and my articles appeared in Business Week, Discover, Forbes, Medical World News, Millimeter, Personal Computing, Publish, Technology Review, and VAR Business. My documentary, Minerva’s Machine: Women and Computing (see below) evolved from my November 1990 article on women in computing in Communications of the ACM. As Senior Writer for CACM, the flagship magazine of the Association for Computing Machinery, I covered artificial intelligence, interactive multimedia, computer aided design, computer security, computers and medicine, databases and the human genome project, high-definition television, parallel processing, and supercomputers. I still bear a fascination for the power of those machines.

Honors and Awards
• Guest Speaker: The New York Academy of Science, based on “The Human Genome Project and Informatics” (November 1991, CACM).
• Judge, Deadline Club Awards, 2008
• Judge, New York Press Club Awards, 2011

Net.LEARNING:
• 1998 First Prize National Education Reporting, Television Documentary and Feature

Minerva's Machine: Women and Computing:
• Best Documentary in a Small Market, 1997 EMMA (Exceptional Merit Media Award), given by National Women’s Political Caucus and Radcliffe College
• Best Documentary, Brooklyn Arts Council’s 30th Annual International Film and Video Festival
• Best Television Series, Runner Up, Eleventh Annual Computer Press Award

Education
M.S. in Science Communication from the Journalism Department of Boston University’s School of Communication.
B.A. in philosophy of science and psychology from Hampshire College.

Professional Affiliations
• Past Board Member, Director of Programming, New York Women in Film and Television, Co-Chair, Documentary Subcommittee
• National Association of Science Writers
• Science Writers in New York
• Society for Business Editors and Writers
• The Authors Guild
• The Society of Silurians

Adjunct Instructor, New York University

I teach a six-week course online for NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies, called "Reporting and Writing in the Digital Era." Students learn how to craft features for the Web, and to embed photo slideshows, video, and audio.

Here's the link to the course description:
Writing and Reporting in the Digital Era

I also teach interviewing techniques, a five-week course in a real classroom.
Interviews and Profiles

Selected Works

Essence Magazine
Influential Black women in tech and an entrepreneurial mother-daughter pair.
Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg Businessweek, Businessweek.com
The fashion industry goes tech in order to step up efficiency when it comes to ordering threads.
Hudl's software lets coaches edit athletes' plays and use them for training. But the company must psych out coaches from different cultures to learn how they train to win.
New-fangled milk crates designed for college students, with the incite of the crowd and made in the U.S.A.
Blue Microphones has expanded its reach, making mics for iPhones, iPods, and iPADs and any other USB device.
The University of Illinois engineering professor creates self-healing materials, and has successfully applied the idea to electronic circuits
Automating recruiting with anonymous job references
A textile company aims for sustainability.
Saving power for supercomputers, laptops, and now data centers.
A new smartphone app that suggests routes to drivers, saving them time and fuel.
"Our fundamental advance allows us to deliver devices that can provide cooling for refrigeration or waste heat recovery and efficiently convert it into power," says Phononic Devices Chief Executive Officer Anthony Atti.
Pressed for time, doctors are less and less amenable to face-to-face meetings with pharma reps. Viscira's biomedical computer animation reach tech-savvy MDs.
Tech from Plextronics Could Replace Lightbulbs, ’Do Away With iPads’
Creative Non-Fiction
An unusual gift, an unusual heritage
Memories, triggered by Hurricane Sandy, of storms of the past.
A true short story from and to Manhattan's Upper West Side.
ScientificAmerican.com
Is the Web a Threat to Creativity and Cultural values? One Cyber Pioneer Thinks So.
Troubled teens benefit from role-play in virtual worlds with their therapists.
FastCompany.com
Special imaging technology shows the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy.
Posthumous emails, videos, and animations.
KNO goes up against TOMS, asking to buy more, give more.
Kids use the kit, called Hummingbird, to build whatever they imagine.
Engineer and entrepreneur Karen Purcell highlights some of strategies for women in STEM in her book, Unlock Your Brilliance.
Email reminders help people keep track of their spending.
At-risk students thrive with a new style of learning.
An Interview with Encyclopaedia Britannica President Jorge Cauz.
The Murray/Jackson trial showcases iPhone forensics, experts comment on the state of the art.
Researchers find privacy breeches possible.
Interview
A 1989 interview with the late, titanic visionary while he was CEO of NeXT,Inc., in which he discusses the Mach OS, robotic manufacturing, mentoring employees, digital Shakespeare and Webster's...
U. S. News and World Report and InsideScience.org
Robotic camera technology inspires virtual exploration by students around the world.
Science Magazine and Science NOW
Scientists shoot gigapixel panoramas to make discoveries
Blogs
The First Conference on Computational Sustainability
Scientific American MIND
Scientists debate how synapses work
Scientific American
A New Algorithim Could Soon Vanquish Go Pros
The Village Voice
Three neurological studies reveal that traumatic memories of those near the site and bereaved children affect functioning of parts of their brains.
The New York Times
The making of the first fully computer-generated cartoon feature film.
Why online shoppers abandon their shopping carts.
Book Reviews
Two books look for answers in the lives of a few who succeeded.
Other Magazines
Technology Review
Book
Communications of the ACM