Robert L. Wolke

Scientist, journalist, satirist, and author

Robert L. Wolke is a scientist, journalist, satirist and author.
With a Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry from Cornell University, he is currently professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, where his satirical monologues earned him the title of “Comic Laureate.”

He has taught in Spanish at universities in Puerto Rico and Venezuela. He has served as academic dean on Semester at Sea, an around-the-world academic voyage; as an education consultant for UNESCO and the USIA in Bangladesh; and as a resident fellow at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France.

In addition to his many research publications in scientific journals, he is the author of Impact: Science on Society, Chemistry Explained, What Einstein Didn’t Know, What Einstein Told His Barber; What Einstein Told His Cook, and What Einstein Told His Cook 2. The last two were nominated for both the James Beard Foundation’s and the IACP’s awards for best technical or reference book. His “Einstein“ books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

From 1998 to 2007, he wrote the syndicated food science column "FOOD 101" in The Washington Post. His journalism awards include the James Beard Foundation award for best newspaper column, the IACP’s Bert Greene Award for best newspaper food writing, and the American Chemical Society’s 2005 Grady-Stack Award for interpreting chemistry to the public.

He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and colleague Marlene Parrish, a food journalist, and their Siamese cat, Alex.