Chronicle science writer David Perlman retires at 98 years old

My colleagues in the mid-1980s, including Dave Perlman standing (Photo credit: The Chronicle)

When I joined The Chronicle as a staff writer in the mid-80s, I was 25 years old. I was one of the youngest reporters, hired as a business writer to help expand the coverage including a new Monday edition called “Business Extra.” After work I would go to the M&M Tavern with colleagues including Harre Demoro, the transportation writer, or Lloyd Watson, one of the business columnists. Then I’d ride the cable car home to my studio apartment (with a futon) on Nob Hill, across from Huntington Park. We wore sport coats and ties to work — and Brooks Brothers suits for interviews with the likes of “Mr. Keller,” (AKA George M. Keller), the CEO of Chevron. Some Chevron articles I wrote from that era are here.

I also got to know science writer David Perlman, who joined the The Chronicle as a copy boy in 1940. Some of his accomplishments included the early coverage of AIDS, earthquakes and space walks. He was a gracious and helpful colleague.

Now “a full 77 years after joining The Chronicle as a copy boy, science writer David Perlman will step away from full-time reporting next week to become the paper’s science editor emeritus,” The Chronicle is reporting this morning. “His final piece as a member of the staff, on the coming solar eclipse, appears Sunday.”

“David has the rare ability to explain really complicated things to ordinary people in a way that makes it clear why science matters to their lives,” said Dennis Bartels, executive director of the Exploratorium from 2006 to 2015. “He always keeps the reader first in mind — why is this topic interesting or relevant to them?”

A well-written article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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