On the Origin of Science Writers


Every now and then, I get an email from someone who’s keen to get into science writing and wants to know how I started. Whenever I reply, and I always try to, I’m always left with the nagging feeling that my experience is but one of a multitude of routes that people have taken. Science writing (whether you want to call it journalism, blogging, communication and so on) is a diverse field, as are the people working in it. It would be far more illuminating for a newbie to see a variety of stories rather than just one.

This was the origin of this thread of origins. I will be asking science writers around the world to do what they do best – tell a story – about the thing they know best – themselves. This will be a perpetual thread that I hope will act as a lasting resource for the writers of tomorrow to take inspiration from.

Some kind individuals have already submitted their stories and I hope that many more will chip in. You can already see that they’re a varied bunch. Some stumbled into it by accident. Some came from traditional journalistic backgrounds. Others were bitten by a radioactive Carl Sagan. The more the stories accumulate, the better this diversity reveals itself.

Who should contribute to this thread?

Anyone who regularly writes about science, and preferably has been doing it for a couple of years now. I originally wanted to focus on science journalists but because all these definitions are bleeding into one, I’m opening it to all manner of science writers. From blogger to book writer, beginner to veteran, Asimov to Zimmer, tell us your story.

What should I say?

You’ll see from the existing entries (which are virtually unedited) that there’s a lot of variety in content, tone and length. This is as it should be – science writers are a diverse bunch and it would be a shame to edit them into uniformity. But essentially, there are two basic questions:

  • how did you make your start
  • what advice would you give to people in the same position?

What do I do?

Just stick a comment in with your story, who you are and what you do. If there are multiple links, it’ll be diverted to my spam folder, but just email or tweet me and tell me to rescue it. Alternatively, feel free to email your story and I’ll put it up on your behalf.

How do I tell people about this?

Obviously, the URL is above, but you can also link to this page from tinyurl.com/sciwriters and bit.ly/sciwriters

What about regular comments?

I’m not going to restrict people from posting regular comments initially, but I’d ask that readers keep them to a minimum. The thread’s value relies on the stories taking centre-stage.

Other than that, go for it.

Who has contributed?

I’ll keep a running list here, with links to their stories:

    1. Carl Zimmerblog; website, Twitter
    2. Mark HendersonTwitter
    3. Tim Radford
    4. Jonah Lehrerblog, Twitter
    5. Maggie Koerth-Baker Twitter
    6. John Rennieblog; Twitter
    7. Steve Silbermanwebsite, Twitter
    8. Gaia Vinceblog; Twitter
    9. Mary CarmichaelTwitter
    10. Ivan Oranskyblog; Twitter
    11. James Randerson Twitter
    12. Deborah Blumblog; Twitter
    13. Oliver Mortonblog; Twitter
    14. Melinda Wenner Moyerwebsite; Twitter
    15. Jonathan GitlinTwitter
    16. Raima Larterblog; Twitter
    17. Mohammed YahiaTwitter
    18. Steffie Tomsonblog
    19. Jennifer Ouelletteblog; Twitter
    20. Chris Lee aka Laserboyblog
    21. John Pavlus blog; Twitter
    22. Alice Bellblog; Twitter
    23. Ed Yongblog (yes, this one); Twitter
    24. Sandeep Gautamblog
    25. John Timmer website; Twitter
    26. Mun-Keat Looiwebsite; Twitter
    27. Charles Seife website; Twitter
    28. Helen Fieldswebsite
    29. TR Gregoryblog; Twitter
    30. JR Minkelblog; Twitter
    31. Cassandra Willyardwebsite; Twitter
    32. Christopher Mimsblog; Twitter
    33. Brendan MaherTwitter
    34. Rowan Hooper – Twitter
    35. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee
    36. Emilie Lorditch
    37. Catherine Shafferwebsite, Twitter
    38. Apoorva MandavilliTwitter
    39. Ann Finkbeinerblog, Twitter
    40. Eric Michael Johnson blog, Twitter
    41. Emily Antheswebsite, Twitter
    42. Carin Bondar website, Twitter
    43. Michaelangelo D’Agostinowebsite, Twitter
    44. Tom Levenson blog, Twitter
    45. Stephen Curryblog, Twitter
    46. Richard Conniffblog
    47. Alexandra WitzeTwitter
    48. Sean Carrollblog, Twitter
    49. Emily Willinghamblog, Twitter
    50. Maryn McKennablog, Twitter
    51. Thomas Hagerblog, Twitter
    52. Joanne Manasterblog, Twitter
    53. Matt Fordblog
    54. Marcia Bartusiakwebsite,
    55. Barbara J Kingwebsite, Twitter
    56. Virginia Hughesblog, Twitter
    57. TJ KelleherTwitter
    58. Michelle Nijhuiswebsite, Twitter
    59. Dan Verganocolumn, Twitter
    60. Edward WinsteadTwitter
    61. Hillary Rosnerwebsite, Twitter
    62. Cristine RussellTwitter
    63. Kate TravisTwitter
    64. Peter RodgersTwitter
    65. Jon Turneywebsite, Twitter
    66. Christie Aschwandenwebsite
    67. Andy Extanceblog, Twitter
    68. Vivienne Raperblog, Twitter
    69. Priya Shettyblog,
    70. Kat Arneyblog, Twitter
    71. Leila Sattarywebsite, Twitter
    72. K. Kris Hirstwebsite
    73. Dave Mosherwebsite, Twitter
    74. Claire AinsworthTwitter
    75. Paul Sutherland website, Twitter
    76. Nancy ShuteTwitter
    77. Maria-Jose Vinaswebsite, Twitter
    78. Ann Downer-Hazell blog, Twitter
    79. Heather Pringleblog, Twitter
    80. Emily Sohnwebsite, Twitter
    81. Dan Faginwebsite, Twitter
    82. Mary KnudsonTwitter
    83. Beth Azar
    84. Anne Sasso website
    85. Adam RutherfordTwitter
    86. Mike Lemonickwebsite
    87. Dave Mungerwebsite, Twitter
    88. Sheril Kirshenbaumblog, Twitter
    89. Laurel Nemewebsite, Twitter
    90. Richard van NoordenTwitter
    91. Jude Isabellawebsite
    92. Matt Billewebsite, Twitter
    93. Becky Oskinwebsite,
    94. Emil Viktor Nilssonblog, Twitter
    95. Jeff Hechtwebsite,
    96. Rhett Allainblog, Twitter
    97. Alex Antuneswebsite,
    98. Bora Zivkovicblog, Twitter
    99. Eoin Letticeblog, Twitter
    100. Steve Koppeswebsite, Twitter
    101. Joerg Kurt Wegnerwebsite, Twitter
    102. Sally Churchblog, Twitter
    103. J. Michael Quante, Twitter
    104. Martin Fennerblog, Twitter
    105. Lewis Dartnellwebsite, Twitter
    106. Catherine Doldwebsite, Twitter
    107. Erik Klemettiblog, Twitter
    108. Carmen DrahlTwitter
    109. Boonsri Dickinsonwebsite, Twitter
    110. Pamela Ronaldblog
    111. David Manlyblog, Twitter
    112. Roger HighfieldTwitter
    113. Tom Chiverswebsite, Twitter
    114. Dan Ferberwebsite, Twitter
    115. Emily BaldwinTwitter
    116. Kerri Smithwebsite, Twitter
    117. Earle M. Hollandblog, Twitter
    118. DeLene Beelandblog, Twitter
    119. Hannah Watersblog, Twitter
    120. David M. Lawrencewebsite
    121. Michael Brooksblog, Twitter
    122. Cobi Smithwebsite, Twitter
    123. Julia Heathcoteblog, Twitter
    124. Alan Boylewebsite, Twitter
    125. Sarah Webbblog, website, Twitter
    126. Charlie Petitblog
    127. Todd I Starkblog, Twitter
    128. PalMD blog, Twitter
    129. Brian Switekblog, Twitter
    130. Jim Handman
    131. Martin Robbins
    132. Richard Grant
    133. Fred Furtado
    134. Henry Gee
    135. Brain Clegg
    136. Eva Amsen
    137. Simon Frantz
    138. Allen Salzberg
    139. Catherine Schmitt
    140. Gianluigi Fillippelli
    141. Wendy Barnaby
    142. David Bradley
    143. Daniel Stolte
    144. Tuan Nguyen
    145. Catherine Brahic

http://steffietomson.wordpress.com/

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