Tag Archives | science writers

Flash point: 
Science meets policy (photo–Leslie Willoughby)

Flash point: science meets policy

The story of the world’s first Ebola epidemic burns at the flash point between science and policy, an enticing yet frightening intersection that can make or break a writer’s credibility. During an after-dinner speech at the time when the outbreak is beginning to dominate the news, I grasp the value of health care policy and…

Continue Reading

Marvelous mentors at AAAS

Where there are science writers, there’s schmoozing. And parties during the AAAS meeting last week elevated the evening social gathering to a new standard of sophistication. One event, at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C., featured fancy finger food and cocktails in test tubes. At another, waiters served bison sausage with jelly. But my favorite…

Continue Reading
The search for ET. All these astronauts are now dead.

Science hype

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration is notoriously good at finding means for justifying its science budget, sometimes deploying what amounts to science fiction (see vintage hype image gallery in a separate post). Mostly, though, it’s simple hype. All of us slugs are on the NASA news release list. An unusually cryptic, tantalizing PR…

Continue Reading
Source: HMC Spring 2010 Bulletin

How often is science distorted in the media?

You know you’re back in college when conversations start, “So, what are you studying?” But when I replied to this question at a recent dinner gathering of fellow grad students, I got an unexpected response.  I explained that I was learning how to communicate science to the general public, but a computer engineer offered this…

Continue Reading
A writing robot. Lacks personality. Credit: Mirko Tobias Schaefer, http://www.flickr.com/photos/gastev/2174504149/

From ‘science-robot’ to science writing cyborg

Whenever I have to write about science in detail, or explain a concept, I find that I default to ‘science-robot’ mode. I write in very dry, technical terms, just getting all the facts in there. And I end up with something that, while technically correct and factually accurate, no one could possibly read without his…

Continue Reading

Déjà vu all over again

I wonder if it’s the same for any profession – that as you prepare to enter it, the standing guard feels compelled to warn you that things are not as good as they used to be. So far, I’m two for two, so I’m thinking it’s a universal truth. Thirteen years ago, I sloshed into…

Continue Reading