Science Writing

Category archives for Science Writing

This has been out for a little while now, and Chris has been promoting it very heavily, and it’s sort of interesting to see the reactions. It’s really something of a Rorschach blot of a book, with a lot of what’s been written about it telling you more about what the writer wants to be…

There’s been a bunch of discussion recently about philosophy of science and whether it adds anything to science. Most of this was prompted by Lawrence Krauss’s decision to become the Nth case study for “Why authors should never respond directly to bad reviews,” with some snide comments in an interview in response to a negative…

Always Write the Introduction Last

Here are some excerpts from the introductory sections of the very first drafts of some book chapters: [BLAH, BLAH, BLAHBITTY BLAH] and [Introductory blather goes here] and Blah, blah, stuff, blather. There’s a good reason for this, based on the basics of scientific writing, namely that the Introduction should give the reader a rough guide…

As I’ve said a bazillion times already this term, I’m teaching a class that is about research and writing, with a big final paper due at the end of the term. Because iterative feedback is key to learning to write, they also have to turn in a complete rough draft, which I will mark up…

Why So Many Theorists?

When I was looking over the Great Discoveries series titles for writing yesterday’s Quantum Man review, I was struck again by how the Rutherford biography by Richard Reeves is an oddity. Not only is Rutherford a relatively happy fellow– the book is really lacking in the salacious gossip that is usually a staple of biography,…

Alternatives to Lab Reports?

An academic email list that I’m on has started a discussion of lab writing, pointing out that students in some lab classes spend more time on writing lab reports in a quasi-journal-article format format than they do taking and analyzing data. This “feels ” wrong in many ways, and the person who kicked off the…

In the Open Lab 2010

It occurs to me that I’m kind of dropping the ball on my shameless self-promotion because I haven’t mentioned that one of my posts made the cut for this year’s fifth edition of the best-of-science-blogging anthology The Open Laboratory. The post included is Science Is More Like Sumo Than Soccer, a discussion of the importance…

Science Is Not Irreducibly Complex

The poor coverage of science in the media is an evergreen topic in blogdom, to the point where I’ve mostly stopped clicking on links to those sorts of pieces. This ScienceProgress post about newsroom culture bugged me, though, and it took me a while to figure out the problem. The author worked as a reporter…

Entangled in Sports Analogies

Having written in defense of analogies in physics yesterday, I should note that not all of the analogies that are brought out in an attempt to clarify physics concepts are good. For example, there’s this incredibly strained opening to a Science News article on entanglement: If the Manning brothers were quantum physicists as well as…

Warped Passages by Lisa Randall

I have nothing useful or interesting to say about electoral politics, but I suspect that’s all people will want to read about today. So here’s a book post that’s been backlogged for quite a while. Lisa Randall’s Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions dates from 2005, and was, I think, part…