Coffeeshop Science

Somewhere in the deep pits of my mind, I still think of “scientists” as remote people whose sentences I won’t understand, and of “science” as an incomprehensible body of knowledge I have to memorize.  This is probably also the public’s image of science.  But if 1000 years as a science writer have taught me nothing […]

Guest Post: Mad Collectors of Science

Several years ago, I went on a reporting foray to Building 8 of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. I had known about the work of John Daly, one of the world’s greatest-ever amphibian natural product scientists, and I decided I would learn more by doing a profile of him for my writing […]

Why More Scientists Should Tell Stories

Scientists aren’t very good at telling stories. That’s a generalization, but true. I’m constantly cajoling scientists to tell me the story — hell, any story, any anecdote, any remotely narrative nugget — of their work. More scientists than you’d expect are good at simplifying a complicated technology or theory into layman’s terms. And many are […]

Redux: Scientists’ Slippage

This post is a re-run from 7/15/2010.  The situation hasn’t improved. I grew up noticing what a writer notices — stories and how things are said — and educated myself accordingly.  So I never learned much science and now, after I’ve unexpectedly turned into a science writer, my questions to scientists are generally English-major questions. […]

Science: The Never Ending Adventure!

Who is a scientist? Well, there’s the reality. And that has been nicely documented recently under the #iamscience hashtag on Twitter. (Storify version of its origins here.) But then there are the perceptions. The preconceptions. The stereotypes. And because scientists are nearly as prone to mirror gazing as journalists are, it’s perhaps no surprise that […]

Is That Guy Really, Really Smart?

A friend I run into regularly says, “Hey, Ann.  Do you know that guy from around here who won that Nobel whatever?”  He means Adam Riess, and yes, I know Riess.  I’ve interviewed him, I say hello, he says hello back.  “I have a question for you,” says my friend. “Is your Nobel guy really, […]