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Out of the Closet: English Majors-Turned-Science Writers

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneySeptember 19, 2006 6:56 PM


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After the Discovery Institute's criticism of my credentials, it occurred to me that I'm hardly the only person to study the works of someone like Chuck Dickens in college, only to end up writing professionally about the works of someone like Chuck Darwin. For instance, here's physics writer Jennifer Oulette, with two books under her belt that, if we universalize the Discovery Institute's attack on me, she shouldn't have written due to her background:

I'm a former English major turned science writer, through serendipitous accident: I stumbled into writing about physics, drifted further and further into the field, then woke up one day and exclaimed, "Hey! I'm a science writer!" It was a life-changing epiphany.

I bet there are lots of others out there like Oulette and myself. In fact, here's another now: Tim Appenzeller, science editor of National Geographic. And here's yet another: Our very own Carl Zimmer here at Scienceblogs. The point is that, although it might seem counter-intuitive, studying English in college actually provides a great background for science writing. And why is that? Because it teaches you how to write. So now I'm wondering: How many other English majors-turned-science writers are there out there? To all such people, this is my official call out. Come out of the closet and back me up....

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