LAWRENCE — Science journalist and television producer Bill Lattanzi will be the Simons Public Humanities Fellow for 2012-2013 at the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas. He is in residence at the Hall Center through Dec. 15.
The mission of the Simons fellowship is to bring a citizen of experience, accomplishment and promise from such fields as journalism, business, health care, law, politics, the arts or nonprofit work to the Hall Center for the Humanities to participate in the intellectual life of the university. The Fellowship was made possible by a gift from the Simons family of Lawrence, together with matching funds from a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant. As a longtime advocate of the view that education is a lifelong experience, the Simons family endowed the fellowship to give individuals of experience from outside the university the time and freedom to re-engage with humanities-based learning and enhance their personal and professional lives.
Lattanzi, a highly accomplished writer, has spent the last 10 years working in cable television as a content creator and producer. He has an extensive track in science and history programming for cable, including productions on the Discovery, History, National Geographic and Learning channels; PBS, including the shows "Nova" and "American Experience"; the web; and as a playwright. He was the senior story producer for the Curiosity Project for the Discovery Channel and acted as a showrunner for season four of "Extreme Engineering."
Lattanzi was previously a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where experienced journalists are offered the opportunity to increase their understanding of science, technology, medicine and the environment.
While in residence, Lattanzi is working on a documentary play on the writer David Foster Wallace, built from materials available in the public record, and the letters and documents available in the Harry Ransom Archives at the University of Texas. He is working with Leslie Bennett of the KU Department of Theatre toward a staged reading at the end of his fellowship.
"As a television writer and producer, my interest is always in reaching the broadest audience," Lattanzi said. "I think of my work as building a bridge from the subject to the television audience, and my job, in some ways, is to be a translator. I'd be delighted to reverse that process and share my experiences with the students and faculty at KU, as it is useful."