G. Pascal Zachary

Writer, Teacher, Scholar

Journalism Highlights


At The Wall Street Journal (1989-2002), Zachary wrote more than 80 page-one articles. In the year 2000, he was described by The Boston Globe as “the single most interesting journalist of all the [Wall Street Journal’s] 700-plus highly-talented reporters.”
Prior to working at the Journal, Zachary covered Silicon Valley at the San Jose Mercury News. Earlier, he worked as a reporter for a trio of important alternative weekly newspapers: the Willamette Week of Portland, Oregon; the worker-owned News & Review of Santa Barbara, California; and the Berkeley Barb, where he was a member of the last staff of this legendary Bay Area newspaper. Zachary also worked as a writer and editor for Time Inc.'s Business 2.0 magazine.
Since the start of his publishing career in the late 1970s, Zachary has contributed to many newspapers and magazines.

GPZ can be reached most quickly through email:

g.zachary@​gmail.com

A Little Bit About Me


Gregg Pascal Zachary tries to understand, document and represent technological change and imaginations about the future through a multi-dimensional lens. The first dimension involves reportage and storytelling about technoscientific complexity, presented in vernacular language. Zachary wrote a narrative tale of the making of a Microsoft computer program (his book, Showstopper) and reported on Silicon Valley and the rise of digital devices and networks during the formative period of the 1980s and 1990s for The Wall Street Journal. He wrote a column on innovation for the New York Times from 2007-2008 and currently contributes to the Spectral Lines column in IEEE’s monthly Spectrum magazine.

The second dimension of Zachary’s work addressing the history of technological systems, chiefly in terms of the interplay of war and national security on research and innovation during World War II and the Cold War. Zachary wrote a biography of the organizer of the Manhattan Project, Vannevar Bush (Endless Frontier), and Zachary teaches a class on nuclear weapons history at ASU.

The third dimension of Zachary’s work centers on how developing countries both absorb science and technology from North America and Europe and also generate their own distinctive approaches to technoscience and innovation. Zachary pays special attention to sub-Saharan Africa, a region he has visited 40 times. He is currently researching under a grant from the National Science Foundation the emergence of computer science in Uganda and he teaches a classes on science, technology and development in Africa in the Global Technology and Development (GTD) program at ASU. Zachary is the author of Married to Africa: a love story and Hotel Africa: the politics of escape.

The fourth dimension of Zachary’s work reflects his life-long interest in the self in transformation. Zachary’s research on new forms of identity engendered by the parallel forces of mobility, digital information-technologies and global migration led to his book, The Diversity Advantage: Multicultural Identity in the New World Economy  (2003).
Taken together, the four dimensions of Zachary’s thinking, field research and writing enable him to work across traditional scholarly, geographic and pop-culture boundaries. The future of the human is fundamentally the terrain I care most about, but because of path dependence — of thinking and practice — we can never break free of the past,” he says. “Yet radical leaps and disruptions are possible — and perhaps more likely — than ever.”

Zachary is a professor of practice at Arizona State University in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Zachary joined ASU's faculty in 2010. Zachary, whose first name is Gregg, is also an affiliate faculty in both English and History at ASU, and teaches in the university's Barrett Honors College on the intersection of science, politics and culture. "Nuclear Weapons and the Making of Modern America," and "The Quest for Enhanced Consciousness: from the Greeks to Google" are two of his representative courses. In 2016, Zachary published an essay on the quest for enhanced consciousness in a collection of essays, "Perfecting Human Futures: Transhuman Futures and Technological Visions," edited by Benjamin Hurlbut and Hava Samuelson.

Zachary spent 13 years as a senior writer for The Wall Street Journal (1989 to 2001) and authored the Ping column on innovation for The New York Times from 2007 to 2008. He regularly contributes comments on current affairs to radio programs in the U.S., Britain and Africa. He has been interviewed by BBC, NPR's Marketplace, and Pacifica's KPFK (Los Angeles). He writes mini-essays for Spectrum magazine on engineering and society, and contributes occasionally to other publications.

Zachary is the author of four books: “Showstopper,” about the making of the Windows NT computer program (1994); “Endless Frontier,” the biography of Vannevar Bush, organizer of the Manhattan Project and architect of the partnership between science and the military during World War Two (1997); “The Diversity Advantage: Multicultural Identity in the New World Economy” (2000; revised, 2003); and "Married to Africa: a love story" (2009).

An enthusiastic review of Zachary's intellectual trajectory was published by The Atlantic Monthly:

Please send review copies of books and other materials to him at:

School for the Future of Innovation in Society
Arizona State University
Interdisciplinary B 366, 1120 S. Cady Mall
PO Box 875603
Tempe, AZ 85287-5603

Books by Zachary

African affairs
a literate and intensely-reported introduction to contemporary Africa
World Affairs
"Zachary approaches the subject with an enormous amount of research and firsthand reporting."
--The New York Times
Biography/History of Techno-science in 20th century America
"Deeply informed and insightful, Zachary has thoroughly captured the spirit of Bush and his times."
--New York Times Book Review
Computers, technology and society
"Riveting"
--Harvard Business Review
"Gripping"
--Fortune
"Compelling"
--Newsweek