My name is Wilson da Silva.
I am the Editor-in-Chief of COSMOS, the Australian science magazine with a global outlook and literary ambitions.
I’m proud to say that I’m one of the founders of this fabulous title, and have directed the magazine’s editorial development since its establishment in 2004.
I say ‘proud’ because COSMOS has done so well: it is Australia’s #1 science magazine in print, iPad and online, and the winner of 47 awards – twice collecting Australia’s Magazine of the Year trophy and a smattering of international honours. COSMOS is also the highest-rated iPad science magazine in the world, both by the industry and by iTunes users.
My career in journalism began as a staff journalist on The Sydney Morning Herald in 1986, and I later worked as a technology writer for The Age in Melbourne – the two oldest broadsheet newspapers in Australia. I’ve also been an Australian correspondent for Britain’s New Scientist, was a founding editor of the science magazines Newton and Science Spectra, and was managing editor of 21C, the avant-garde futures magazine.
I’ve been an on-air TV science reporter at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the national public broadcaster, where I made short and long science documentaries, and later worked as science editor of ABC Online, the news portal of the ABC. For five years, I was a a foreign correspondent at Reuters, working in Canada and Australia and doing field postings in New York, Jakarta and Hawaii.
My writing credits include The Australian Financial Review Magazine, SCIENCE, The Nation, The Weekend Australian Magazine, Business Review Weekly and Reader’s Digest; and newspapers like The South China Morning Post, The Australian Financial Review, The Canberra Times, The Australian, The New Zealand Herald and Diário de Notíçias.
I am the winner 31 awards, including two Editor of the Year trophies for my work on COSMOS, and the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Documentary – Australia’s highest accolade for documentary filmmaking. The latter was for The Diplomat, an 81-minute film about East Timor’s long struggle for freedom from Indonesian occupation, centred on José Ramos Horta, the Nobel Peace laureate who went on to become president of the liberated nation.
I have donated my time to many science education and communication projects over the years. Elected president of the World Federation of Science Journalists (2004-07), I helped transform this global non-profit organisation from a loose network of science journalism associations into a dynamic international umbrella group with defined aspirations, an active agenda, a permanent secretariat in Canada and an annual budget of US$2.1 million.
I’ve served six years as a councillor and later as president of The Australian Museum Society; six years as a board member, vice-president and then president of the Australian Science Communicators; two terms on the management committee of the Australian Society of Authors; as a judge of the Eureka Prize for Science Journalism; and as a member of the Expert Working Group on Science and the Media created to advise Australia’s Department of Innovation, Industry, Science & Research.
I’m the founder of the Talking Science community radio program, and co-founder of Science in the Pub, a popular public event which has been staged nationally and internationally and is occasionally broadcast on Australia’s ABC Radio, and for which I was a co-winner of the 2000 Eureka Prize for the Promotion of Science.
I’ve served on the steering committee of the Consensus Conference on Gene Technology in the Food Chain; been a member of the Australian Advisory Group for the International Year of Astronomy; and have been on the Science Advisory Council of the University of New South Wales since 2009.
I do a lot of public speaking, and have made hundreds of appearances on TV and radio – on topics ranging from climate change and bird flu to space travel and the future of energy – including on the Today Show, Sunrise and The Science Show in Australia, The Agenda with Steve Paikin in Canada, the BBC in Britain and TV Globo in Brazil. Among the 100 or so conferences at which I’ve spoken are the UNESCO World Science Forum in Budapest, the EuroScience Forum in Munich and the Science and Technology in Society Forum in Kyoto.
I am passionate about science, the environment, and the role of journalism in a civil society, and believe that with determination and ingenuity we can solve many of the world’s most pressing problems.
I have a pre-paid ticket to fly aboard Virgin Galactic into space sometime in the next few years; my berth was secured in 2004, so it’s been a very long wait! The trip has attracted a lot of media interest over the years, and consequently I’ve been interviewed many times on radio and TV, and was featured in The Conversation Hour with Richard Fidler and In Conversation with Robyn Williams – both on ABC Radio.
I made the cover of Notíçias Magazine in Portugal, and – with my friend and COSMOS co-founder Dr Alan Finkel – have been profiled in GoodWeekend magazine’s popular ‘Two of Us’ section.