Book Writing

Category archives for Book Writing

Science Is Not Solitary

There was another round of the “who counts as a scientist?” debate recently, on Twitter and then on the Physics Focus blog. In between those, probably coincidentally (he doesn’t mention anything prompting it), Sean Carroll offered a three-step definition of science: Think of every possible way the world could be. Label each way an “hypothesis.”…

One of the great frustrations of my intellectual life, such as it is, is the problem of the disappearing quote. This is a function of having acquired a broad liberal education (in the sense of “liberal arts college” not the sense of “person to the left of Rush Limbaugh”) in a somewhat haphazard manner. My…

260 Million Scientists a Month

The day I bought my iPad, as I was taking it out of the box, SteelyKid (then 3) came bopping into my office, spotted it, and declared “I want to play Angry Birds!” It’s a remarkable demonstration of the genius of their product: not only have they created a game that a three-year-old can play,…

For the last several months, I’ve been poking along on the book-in-progress in a very constrained manner– basically, I get to work on it in three-hour chunks on Tuesdays when I don’t have class (and this term, Thursdays as well). This is, as you might imagine, incredibly frustrating, though I do get some book-related stuff…

The book-in-progress (which is coming along, albeit slowly, thanks for asking) is built around making analogies between scientific discoveries and ordinary activities. This necessarily means telling a lot of historical stories, which is both good and bad. The bad part is that actual history is way messier than the streamlined version you get to use…

As you may or may not know, I’m currently at work on a book called How to Think Like a Scientist. This raises the fairly obvious question in the post title, namely, why should people think like scientists? What’s the point? In a sense, this is (as Ethan Zuckerman pointed out at lunch the other…

How to Think Like a Scientist

I have made allusions to a work-in-progress at various points recently, but my general policy is not to reveal any details until things become official. Well, as you can see from the above photo of signed contracts, it’s official: I sold the work-in-progress to Basic Books, my publisher for How to Teach Relativity to Your…

I’ve got a bunch of browser tabs open on my various computers that have been there for weeks, one of which is Alastair Reynolds on writing science fiction. This is mostly a response to a not-terribly-interesting complaint that the science fiction genre has been “exhausted,” but there was a bit in there that resonated with…

In which we have the next round of the conversation with Puff the Mutant Dragon. Previous entries here and there. ———— Amusingly, your post was singled out for high praise in the Knight Science Journalism Tracker review of the book. Probably because Deborah Blum, who wrote it, wrote a book about poisons, so the topic…

Still Stuck in Paragraph Two

This one’s for Matthew Francis, whose tweet from yesterday lodged this in my head until I broke down and typed it out. With apologies to Stealer’s Wheel and their Dylanesque pop bubblegum classic: Still Stuck in Paragraph Two Well, I don’t know why I came here tonight, I brought the laptop but still just can’t…