Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

On the Origin of Science Writers

Not Exactly Rocket ScienceBy Ed YongJuly 29, 2010 6:38 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news


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 and 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 Zimmer - blog; website, Twitter

  2. Mark Henderson - Twitter

  3. Tim Radford

  4. Jonah Lehrer - blog, Twitter

  5. Maggie Koerth-BakerTwitter

  6. John Rennie - blog; Twitter

  7. Steve Silberman - website,Twitter

  8. Gaia Vince - blog; Twitter

  9. Mary Carmichael - Twitter

  10. Ivan Oransky - blog; Twitter

  11. James RandersonTwitter

  12. Deborah Blum - blog; Twitter

  13. Oliver Morton - blog; Twitter

  14. Melinda Wenner Moyer - website; Twitter

  15. Jonathan Gitlin - Twitter

  16. Raima Larter - blog; Twitter

  17. Mohammed Yahia - Twitter

  18. Steffie Tomson - blog

  19. Jennifer Ouellette - blog; Twitter

  20. Chris Lee aka Laserboy - blog

  21. John Pavlus - blog; Twitter

  22. Alice Bell - blog; Twitter

  23. Ed Yong - blog (yes, this one); Twitter

  24. Sandeep Gautam - blog

  25. John Timmer - website; Twitter

  26. Mun-Keat Looi - website; Twitter

  27. Charles Seife - website; Twitter

  28. Helen Fields - website

  29. TR Gregory - blog; Twitter

  30. JR Minkel - blog; Twitter

  31. Cassandra Willyard - website; Twitter

  32. Christopher Mims - blog; Twitter

  33. Brendan Maher - Twitter

  34. Rowan Hooper - Twitter

  35. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

  36. Emilie Lorditch

  37. Catherine Shaffer - website, Twitter

  38. Apoorva Mandavilli -


  39. Ann Finkbeiner -

    blog, Twitter

  40. Eric Michael Johnson -

    blog, Twitter

  41. Emily Anthes -

    website, Twitter

  42. Carin Bondar -

    website, Twitter

  43. Michaelangelo D'Agostino - website, Twitter

  44. Tom Levenson - blog, Twitter

  45. Stephen Curry - blog, Twitter

  46. Richard Conniff - blog

  47. Alexandra Witze - Twitter

  48. Sean Carroll - blog, Twitter

  49. Emily Willingham - blog, Twitter

  50. Maryn McKenna - blog, Twitter

  51. Thomas Hager - blog, Twitter

  52. Joanne Manaster - blog, Twitter

  53. Matt Ford - blog

  54. Marcia Bartusiak - website,

  55. Barbara J King - website, Twitter

  56. Virginia Hughes - blog, Twitter

  57. TJ Kelleher - Twitter

  58. Michelle Nijhuis - website, Twitter

  59. Dan Vergano - column, Twitter

  60. Edward Winstead - Twitter

  61. Hillary Rosner - website, Twitter

  62. Cristine Russell - Twitter

  63. Kate Travis - Twitter

  64. Peter Rodgers - Twitter

  65. Jon Turney - website, Twitter

  66. Christie Aschwanden - website

  67. Andy Extance - blog, Twitter

  68. Vivienne Raper - blog, Twitter

  69. Priya Shetty - blog,

  70. Kat Arney - blog, Twitter

  71. Leila Sattary - website, Twitter

  72. K. Kris Hirst - website

  73. Dave Mosher - website, Twitter

  74. Claire Ainsworth - Twitter

  75. Paul Sutherland - website, Twitter

  76. Nancy Shute - Twitter

  77. Maria-Jose Vinas - website, Twitter

  78. Ann Downer-Hazell - blog, Twitter

  79. Heather Pringle - blog, Twitter

  80. Emily Sohn - website, Twitter

  81. Dan Fagin - website, Twitter

  82. Mary Knudson - Twitter

  83. Beth Azar

  84. Anne Sasso - website

  85. Adam Rutherford -


  86. Mike Lemonick - website

  87. Dave Munger - website, Twitter

  88. Sheril Kirshenbaum - blog, Twitter

  89. Laurel Neme - website, Twitter

  90. Richard van Noorden - Twitter

  91. Jude Isabella - website

  92. Matt Bille - website, Twitter

  93. Becky Oskin - website,

  94. Emil Viktor Nilsson - blog, Twitter

  95. Jeff Hecht - website,

  96. Rhett Allain - blog, Twitter

  97. Alex Antunes - website,

  98. Bora Zivkovic - blog, Twitter

  99. Eoin Lettice - blog, Twitter

  100. Steve Koppes - website, Twitter

  101. Joerg Kurt Wegner - website, Twitter

  102. Sally Church - blog, Twitter

  103. J. Michael Quante, Twitter

  104. Martin Fenner - blog, Twitter

  105. Lewis Dartnell - website, Twitter

  106. Catherine Dold - website, Twitter

  107. Erik Klemetti - blog, Twitter

  108. Carmen Drahl - Twitter

  109. Boonsri Dickinson - website, Twitter

  110. Pamela Ronald - blog

  111. David Manly - blog, Twitter

  112. Roger Highfield - Twitter

  113. Tom Chivers - website, Twitter

  114. Dan Ferber - website, Twitter

  115. Emily Baldwin - Twitter

  116. Kerri Smith - website, Twitter

  117. Earle M. Holland - blog, Twitter

  118. DeLene Beeland - blog, Twitter

  119. Hannah Waters - blog, Twitter

  120. David M. Lawrence - website

  121. Michael Brooks - blog, Twitter

  122. Cobi Smith - website, Twitter

  123. Julia Heathcote - blog, Twitter

  124. Alan Boyle - website, Twitter

  125. Sarah Webb - blog, website, Twitter

  126. Charlie Petit - blog

  127. Todd I Stark - blog, Twitter

  128. PalMD - blog, Twitter

  129. Brian Switek - blog, 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





    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In