Holiday Review: From Here to Eternity

In honor of the holiday season, we here at LWON are giving readers the gift of some of our favorite past columns, and ourselves the gift of not having to write something new for a couple of weeks. This essay originally appeared as part of a Father’s Day series in June 2012. “My father,” I would […]

Holiday Review: For his bairns, and his bairns’ bairns, and their beavers

Here at LWON we’re celebrating the holiday week by bringing back some of our favorite posts. This post originally appeared in July 2013. The Ramsay family has lived at the Bamff estate, 1300 acres of heathery hills and woodlands in eastern Scotland, for nearly eight centuries. Today, environmentalists Paul and Louise Ramsay share the property with three families of […]

Finding Peter Ganz

About a month ago, I wrote a review of a play by David C. Cassidy about Farm Hall.  Farm Hall was the English country house in which the British government, just after World War II, sequestered the German nuclear scientists they’d kidnapped.  The scientists’ rooms were bugged, and their conversation was recorded and transcribed by […]

The Botanist Nobody Knew

Before dawn on October 3, 1932, in the small Columbia River town of Bingen, Washington, an 82-year-old man walked to the depot to catch the morning train to Portland. Under circumstances that remain unclear, the arriving train struck him down, killing him almost instantly. The man had lived in town for more than half a […]

The Wonderful World of Oz…and Science

Lately I’ve been reading my way through the series of Oz books. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is only the first in a series of 14 books, and it’s not remotely the best. It’s fascinating to reread books I loved as a child. Some are still great. Others have inexplicably morphed into poorly-written, preachy duds. […]

The Rime of the Ancient Astronomers

I received an email the other day from Nicholas Suntzeff, the director of the Astronomy Program at Texas A&M as well as a friend. (Readers might remember that he has published two guest posts with LWON.) His email was in fact a series of emails that he thought I might enjoy. It started with a […]

As Ends in Themselves

About a month ago, the science writing community found out that one of its leaders was sexually harassing his younger female colleagues.  The young women, especially those looking for networks and jobs, took to the internet and named him in front of his own community.  The internet got its shorts in an uproar which eventually focused on […]

Obsessions, Dreams and Premonitions

  For most of my life, I’ve been obsessed with plane crashes. It began when I was in first grade, and my dad and his squadron went to Turkey on TDY (temporary duty assignment — the military equivalent of a business trip). They were there to practice dropping bombs from their fighter jets. Dad qualified […]