Under The Hood of The Science Writing Sedan

John Horgan, science writer and director of the Center for Science Writing at Stevens Institute of Technology, has set up a very interesting site. In the 1990s he interviewed a series of leading scientists and philosophers, publishing a string of profiles in Scientific American that ultimately became his provocative 1998 book, The End of Science. Horgan must be quite the pack rat, because he still has all the tapes of his lengthy interviews, and he’s now putting them on line. His latest: the philosopher Thomas Kuhn, who championed the idea that science goes through revolutions as paradigms shift.

Horgan’s interviews have matured now into historical material–Kuhn died in 1996. You can listen to the full interview, in which Kuhn describes going from being a kid building ham radios into a philosopher. Horgan has also posted the full transcript, as well as a chapter from The End of Science (pdf) in which he distilled the interview.

I find the site particularly revealing–or maybe I should say painfully revealing–of the process of writing about science. It’s like making sausage, except that you need five tons of pork to make a single link. People who are contemplating a career in science writing might want to take a look (or a listen) before they leap…