Thomas Hayden is the founding Director of the Master of Arts in Earth Systems, Environmental Communication Program at Stanford University. He teaches science and environmental communication and journalism in Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and Graduate Program in Journalism. He came to Stanford in 2008, following a career of reporting and writing about science and environmental issues for national and international publications.
Hayden’s journalism career began at Newsweek magazine in New York, where he was an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media fellow in 1997. In 2000, he moved to US News & World Report in Washington, DC, where he covered science, the environment, medicine, culture and breaking news as a senior writer. Since 2005, Hayden has been a freelance journalist. His cover stories have appeared in publications including National Geographic, Wired, Smithsonian, Washington Post Book World and many others. He has reported from South America, Europe and Asia, and North America from New Orleans to the Canadian Arctic.
Hayden is coauthor of two books. He wrote the 2007 national bestseller On Call in Hell, about battlefield medicine in Iraq, with Navy doctor Richard Jadick. In 2008 he collaborated on the critically acclaimed Sex and War, about the biological evolution and cultural development of warfare through human history, with Malcolm Potts of the University of California, Berkeley. He was the lead writer on the 2010 9th revision of the iconic National Geographic Atlas of the World. He is a coeditor of and a contributor to The Science Writers' Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Pitch, Publish and Prosper in the Digital Age, published in 2013.
In 2005, Hayden taught science writing in The Writing Workshops at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore with his wife and fellow science journalist, Erika Check Hayden. He was a founding faculty member in the annual Banff Centre Science Communications workshop from 2006 until 2010, and was involved as a speaker and trainer with the Leopold Leadership Program for environmental scientists from 2000 to 2013.
Hayden graduated from his hometown school, the University of Saskatchewan, with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (honours) degree in applied microbiology and food science, and received an MS degree in marine biology from the University of Southern California. He completed five years of doctoral study in biological oceanography at USC, before leaving science for journalism with A.B.D. status. He spent more than nine months at sea cumulatively over five years, conducting oceanographic research from Southern California to San Francisco Bay, and from Antarctica to Easter Island.
Today, his current and past students produce professional quality science writing at a pace that surprises even him, publishing in outlets including The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and many others. With his students, he helped establish two long-running science communication projects. An eco-advice column, SAGE: Sound Advice for a Green Earth, is published monthly with Stanford magazine; and the longform podcast series Generation Anthropocene is published with Smithsonian magazine.
In 2015, Hayden helped launch a new graduate degree program in Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. The Master of Arts in Earth Systems, Environmental Communication degree is focussed on the study and practice of effective, engaging, accurate communication of complex environmental and Earth systems information to nonspecialist audiences.