Garwin: the Movie (UPDATED)

Garwin: the Movie opens with an old, steady, precise hand on a computer keyboard, scrolling through now-declassified* documents.  Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower make announcements, and newspapers flash headlines about our splendid new hydrogen bomb.  Then the blossom of a mushroom cloud unfolds; and John F. Kennedy talks about Russian missiles in Cuba; and the […]

It’s Time to Evolve. Yes, You Too.

A few years ago, I was driving back exhausted from a rock climbing trip in the mountains. My buddy Bryan Fong, was bored and feeling a little punchy. When he gets like this, he tends to bring up politically sensitive topics and starts looking for buttons to press. In this case, he honed in on […]

A Lungful of Quiet

I’m writing to you from inside an artificial lung. Really. I’m sitting at a desk in a cylindrical, windowless room, 180 feet across. The floor and walls are concrete, and the ceiling, several stories above, is rimmed with an enormous black rubber gasket which sighs gently—up, then down—every time somebody opens the door. No one […]

Total Immersion

How could it happen? Was it the wrath of God or the malice of Poland? Was the crew drunk or was the Vasa wrongly built? The town was alive with rumours. I’ll bet it was. On August 10, 1628, the warship Vasa—the pride of Sweden, the talk of Stockholm—set sail on its maiden voyage. It didn’t […]

Which Sherlock Are You? An LWON Diversion

In our quest to not only see but also observe, the readers and writers of LWON have a lot in common with Sherlock Holmes—that famously exquisite observer, terrible flatmate, and devoted fan of intelligent crime. (Science writers may feel even more affinity with Holmes’ long-suffering chronicler Dr. Watson, but that’s another story). Which Holmes, though? Arthur […]

Guest Post: The Importance of Being Peculiar

Halton Arp — “Chip” to his friends — died in Munich on December 28, 2013, and with him a cosmological banner has fallen to the ground. It’s a banner that younger astronomers may choose to take up. If they do, however, they should be cautious: it could mean the end of their careers. As a […]

Can’t We All Just … ?

Recently, based on the well-established if-Netflix-made-it-then-it-must-be-awesome principle, I have been watching the show Lillehammer. (This principle is firmly based in the orange-is-the-new-black correlate, the house-of-cards theorem, and the Derek postulate). Like all the Netflix shows, it’s pretty good. But unlike some, it’s only pretty good. It’s about a New York wise guy who ends up […]

Guest Post: Talk to Them, Just Talk to Them

Scientists, policymakers, FDA officials, industry spokespersons–talk to my science journalism students! Yes, they haven’t received their masters degrees yet from New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP); and yes, most of them are newbies to the profession. But you shouldn’t ignore their emails or make them send reminder messages two or three […]