Planet Masters



Chip Walter

Chip Walter is an author, journalist, National Geographic grantee, educator, filmmaker and former CNN bureau chief.

Chip Walter is an author, journalist, National Geographic grantee, educator, filmmaker and former CNN bureau chief with an unusually broad background that spans both science and entertainment. Chip’s fifth book, Immortality, Inc. — Renegade Scientists, Silicon Valley Gurus and the Future of Cheating Death for National Geographic Books will be available in bookstores everywhere January 7, 2020. His previous four books include–Last Ape Standing: The Seven-Million-Year Story of How and Why We Survived; Thumbs, Toes and Tears – And Other Traits That Make Us Human (Walker –– Bloomsbury Publishing); I’m Working on That with William Shatner (Simon and Schuster); and Space Age for Random House, the companion volume to the primetime PBS series Chip developed. 

Each book reaches out to mainstream audiences to explore scientific topics that relate to the human condition, human evolution, emotion, behavior and creativity. Publisher’s Weekly said of Walter’s latest book, Immortality, Inc.. “His (Walter’s) fascinating account will interest those who want to know more about Silicon Valley’s rainmakers, as well as where science now stands on preventing and curing disease.” William Shatner called it “Great! What a book!” Pulitzer Prize Winner Jonathan Weiner called it, “Colorful, entertaining and up-to-date.”

Chip’s other books have been well-reviewed too. The New York Times Book Review, called Last Ape “a lively journey… that takes an antic delight in the triumphal adaptations and terrifying near misses of human evolution.” The New Yorker called it “engaging” and “fascinating.” Futurist Ray Kurzweil said, “Read it! You’ll never see yourself or anyone else the same way.” And Booklist called it, “captivating, informative, exceptionally well-written and accessible.” Thumbs, Toes and Tears also received rave reviews: Publisher’s Weekly hailed it as “fascinating and superbly written,” while Kirkus Reviews said, “Walter narrates with flair and enthusiasm.” 

Chip’s articles have appeared in National Geographic, The Economist, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, among many other publications, and have covered subjects as diverse as the origins of kissing, laughter, human consciousness and art. He has been lucky enough to travel to six continents as a journalist and documentary filmmaker, from the Amazon Rain Forest and outback of Australia to the Serengeti and remote islands of the Pacific. His cover story The First Artists was National Geographic’s featured story in January 2015. His books have so far been translated into eight languages reaching readers from Kyoto to Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Hong Kong and Seoul.

Chip has also spoken at Harvard Law School, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University’s School of Journalism, Xerox PARC and the Chautauqua Institution on a wide range of topics and has twice moderated scientific panels at the United Nations on child brain development at the request of UNICEF Director Anthony Lake. He recently moderated a third in Beijing. He has often been a guest on radio stations and websites around the world including National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Michio Kaku’s Science Fantastic, Irish National Radio and The Wall Street Journal.

Chip is particularly fascinated with two seemingly unrelated subjects – human behavior, and the increasingly rapid advance of technology and its effect upon our lives and society. No technology, he believes, no matter how powerful, can succeed unless it connects positively and effectively on a human level. To smooth the immense and disruptive transitions that lie ahead, he feels it is crucial for us to not only understand the power of emerging technology, but also to better comprehend the core attributes that make humans human and humane. “It’s crucial to explore both sides of the equation,” he says. “We can’t hope to build a promising future if we don’t develop a better understanding of ourselves.