ScienceWriters excerpts

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  • "Thank you NASW for believing in me and helping me to make this exciting step in my career." That statement by science writer Erica Gies echoes the sentiments of 16 science writers who received NASW career development grants in 2009.

  • Beginning this fall, I'll be creating a new graduate program in science writing at Florida Atlantic University, in Jupiter. Fla., just north of West Palm Beach. And although I haven't yet told him this, I owe the job, at least in part, to Dave Perlman.

  • Dear Prospective Student: Thanks very much for your interest in our graduate program in science writing. You're off to a good start by sending a professional message with some well-composed details about your background and your desire to enter our field. We'll talk soon over the phone, and I welcome you to visit us here in the redwoods. In the meantime, you've asked what I look for in our applicants — the signs that you might be a good fit for us, and vice versa. I'm happy to oblige.

  • The relationship between a freelance writer and a publisher thrives on mutual respect, clear expectations, and professional behavior on both sides. That's the ideal. But it doesn't always work out that way, and writers sometimes end up getting what they consider to be unfair treatment.

  • Mistakes happen in any profession, but when one is made in journalism, thousands — sometimes millions — of people see it. At best, this is embarrassing. At worst, there are lawyers involved.

  • "Was I this obsessive about the last book?" I asked my husband the other day, after trotting into the living room to report on my morning Amazon check for The Poisoner's Handbook. (Wow! In the 100s! After six weeks!)

  • Born as the idea of a handful of senior university PR officials and billed as an alternative source for science news in a world supposedly hemorrhaging science writers, the Futurity website offers up four or five new research stories daily, fresh from the country's major research universities.

  • Paula Apsell, Beryl Lieff Benderly, Linda Billings, Deborah Blum, James Cornell, and Jeff Grabmeier have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). All are members of Section Y (General Interest in Science and Engineering). They will receive formal recognition of this honor at a ceremony during the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego, Feb. 18-22.

  • Explaining Research (Oxford University Press, 2010), began its eccentric evolution as a modest booklet-sized manuscript that I planned to self-publish; but ended up as a 368-page book produced by a major academic publisher. The tale of that evolution, I think, offers useful lessons for authors who face a daunting new era of self-publishing technology and an economically depressed publishing industry.

  • Now available online is the Mosaic Magazine Archive, consisting of articles, published from 1970 to 1992, in the National Science Foundation's flagship magazine. Material is searchable by issue, topic, and author.