Rosen: Math Geek

Math Geek cover

Math Geek cover


Raphael Rosen
Adams Media/June 18, 2015/$15.99
ISBN-10: 440583811
ISBN-13: 978-1440583810

Rosen reports:

In Math Geek, I try to explain how mathematics permeates our everyday lives, from the shapes of weird-looking broccoli in grocery stores to the bunching of buses along their routes.

My goal was to show how mathematics is not just a subject one masters to pass tests in school. On the contrary, math is something built into the fabric of reality, a collection of shapes, patterns, numbers, and arguments that are both beautiful and revealing. I argue that becoming familiar with some of these mathematical concepts is similar to reading Shakespearean sonnets or looking at a sunset. Math isn't just technical. It's also graceful, and worth studying for its own sake.

Raphael Rosen

Raphael Rosen. Photo by Elle Starkman.

I first learned about science writing in 2002, when I began working at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. I always had been a science junkie, and enjoyed explaining complicated topics, so the discovery of a career path that merged both pursuits seemed too good to be true. After freelancing a bit for NASA and Popular Woodworking, I enrolled in 2010 in a journalism master's program at the University of Southern California. Later I interned at Sky & Telescope, wrote a children's book about outer space, and created text for a traveling exhibition that merged science and art. I currently have a staff writing position at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

I got a contract for this book after an editor at Adams Media found my profile on He was seeking an author to write a book about math in the world, and my history and preferences seemed to match what he was looking for.

I love long-form writing, but had only a vague notion of the amount of time I would need to finish a book of this length. Before I started this project, I wish I had had a better sense of how much research it would require. Now I know just how formidable writing a book can be! Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to writing more of them.

Contact info:

Buy this book now in the ScienceWriters bookstore.


NASW members: will your book be published soon? Take advantage of this opportunity for shameless self-promotion.

Tell your fellow NASW members how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. Include what you wish you had known before you started this project, or had done differently.


Send info and images to Lynne Lamberg, NASW book editor,

Jun. 17, 2015

Advance Copy

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

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