edyong

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Ed Yong

Award-winning science writer who reports for the Atlantic. His first book, I Contain Multitudes, about the amazing partnerships between microbes and animals, was published in August 2016. His writing has also appeared in National Geographic, the New YorkerWired, the New York TimesNatureNew ScientistScientific American, and more.

What others are saying...

"One of the best sites for in-depth analysis of interesting scientific papers" - The Times

"A consistently illuminating home for long, thoughtful, and thorough explorations of science news" - National Association of Science Writers

Posts by this author

March 28, 2011
If any of you are visiting after reading my feature on space bacteria in the April issue of WIRED UK, you've arrived at the wrong place due to a mix-up in the byline. Head over to the new home of Not Exactly Rocket Science at Discover blogs.
March 29, 2010
For anyone still lurking around here, this blog has moved to Discover blogs. Come and find me in my new home. If anyone thinks that their feeds updated automatically and are confused by this, it may be because you need to manually set your readers with the new feed URL: http://feeds.feedburner.…
March 26, 2010
I've been teasing a big announcement for a couple of days now, and after a technical delay, here it is - the death of Not Exactly Rocket Science. And the birth of Not Exactly Rocket Science ;-) After two brilliant years at ScienceBlogs, I'm evolving, migrating, metastasising, metamorphosing, (…
March 25, 2010
Er, yeah. Sorry. Hit a slight glitch. Big news TOMORROW (as in Friday 26th), probably in the early afternoon. Look, it's not like I've discovered the Higgs Boson...
March 24, 2010
March 24, 2010
To tie in with this week's Research Blogging Awards announcement, I spent an enjoyable half-hour on Monday being interviewed by Dave Munger, who organised the awards. The interview is now up on the SEED website, with a title that made me smile. In it, I talk to Dave about winning the award, why…
March 23, 2010
Image, ironically, from FailBlog Warning: this post contains sentiment. If you are cynical and/or British, you might want to avert your eyes. Alternatively, read this and then go watch some Charlie Brooker. For those of you still around, bear with me. It is really hard to write something like this…
March 22, 2010
Like it or not, the golden arches of McDonalds are one of the most easily recognised icons of the modern world. The culture they represent is one of instant gratification and saved time, of ready-made food that can be bought cheaply and eaten immediately. Many studies have looked at the effects of…
March 21, 2010
A couple of photos taken today, during a lovely spring stroll through Richmond Park Ring-necked parakeet Red deer
March 19, 2010
We like to be in control of our own lives, and some of us have an automatic rebellious streak when we're told what to do. We're less likely to do a task if we're ordered to do it than if we make the choice of our own volition. It seems that this effect is so strong that it even happens when the…
March 18, 2010
One night of passion and you're filled with a lifetime full of sperm with no need to ever mate again. As sex lives go, it doesn't sound very appealing, but it's what many ants, bees, wasps and termites experience. The queens of these social insects mate in a single "nuptial flight" that lasts for…
March 17, 2010
In Robert Louis Stevenson's classic story, Dr Henry Jekyll drinks a mysterious potion that transforms him from an upstanding citizen into the violent, murderous Edward Hyde. We might think that such an easy transformation would be confined to the pages of fiction, but a similar fate regularly…
March 17, 2010
For most men, the thought of taking on the burden of pregnancy from their partners would seem like a nightmare, but it's all part and parcel of seahorse life. After mating, female seahorses and pipefish lay their eggs into a special pouch in the male's belly and he carries the developing babies to…
March 16, 2010
A couple of nights ago, I discovered a blog by Canadian science journalist Colin Schultz, who is doing a series of interviews with eminent science journalists including Carl Zimmer, Nicola Jones, David Dobbs and Jay Ingram. They're great reads and I especially liked the stark differences in the…
March 15, 2010
We all know that as we type on our keyboards or click our mice, we leave behind fingerprints that could be used to deduce our identities. But these prints aren't the only remnants of our presence. Bacteria from our skins also linger on the things we touch and they could act as a sort of living…
March 15, 2010
Not Exactly Pocket Science is a set of shorter write-ups on new stories with links to more detailed takes by the world's best journalists and bloggers. It is meant to complement the usual fare of detailed pieces that are typical for this blog. The rewarding side of being a psychopath What goes…
March 14, 2010
Take a whiff of mustard or wasabi and you'll be hit with a familiar burning sensation. That's the result of chemicals in these pungent foods hitting a protein called TRPA1, a molecular alarm that warns us about irritating substances. The same protein does a similar job in other animals, but…
March 12, 2010
This article is reposted from the old Wordpress incarnation of Not Exactly Rocket Science. For all the millions that are poured into electoral campaigns, a voter's choice can be influenced by the subtlest of signals. Israeli scientists have found that even subliminal exposure to national flags can…
March 11, 2010
Not Exactly Pocket Science is a set of shorter write-ups on new stories with links to more detailed takes by the world's best journalists and bloggers. It is meant to complement the usual fare of detailed pieces that are typical for this blog. Geneticist sequences own genome, finds genetic cause…
March 10, 2010
The animal on the right is no ordinary chicken. Its right half looks like a hen but its left half (with a larger wattle, bigger breast, whiter colour and leg spur) is that of a cockerel. The bird is a 'gynandromorph', a rare sexual chimera. Thanks to three of these oddities, Debiao Zhao and Derek…
March 10, 2010
If anyone's in London or thereabouts on the 31st of March, come and see me and a few other science journalists discuss the state of science in the media at City University. The discussion follows a recent government report, entitled Science in the Media: Securing the Future. The report declared…
March 9, 2010
Even extinction and the passing of millennia are no barriers to clever geneticists. In the past few years, scientists have managed to sequence the complete genome of a prehistoric human and produced "first drafts" of the mammoth and Neanderthal genomes. More controversially, some groups have even…
March 9, 2010
Not Exactly Pocket Science is a set of shorter write-ups on new stories with links to more detailed takes by the world's best journalists and bloggers. It is meant to complement the usual fare of detailed pieces that are typical for this blog. Cold-proof tongue allows early chameleon to catch…
March 8, 2010
Ever wonder if acts of kindness or malice really do ripple outwards? If you give up a seat on a train to a stranger, do they go onto "pay it forward" to others? Likewise, if you steal someone's seat, does the bad mood you engender topple over to other people like a set of malicious dominoes? We'd…
March 7, 2010
Sex might be fun but it's not without risks. As your partner exposes themselves to you, they also expose you to whatever bacteria, viruses or parasites they might be carrying. But some animals have a way around that. Ekaterina Litvinova has found that when male mice get a whiff of female odours,…
March 5, 2010
The Not Exactly Pocket Science experiment continues after the vast majority of people who commented liked the pilot post. I'm really enjoying this, for quite unexpected reasons. It's forcing me to flex writing muscles that usually don't get much of a workout. Writing short pieces means being far…
March 4, 2010
We've all heard about "beer goggles", the mythical, invisible eyewear that makes everyone else seem incredibly attractive after a few pints too many. If only beer had the reverse effect, making the drinker seem irresistibly attractive. Well, the good news is that beer does actually do this. The bad…
March 3, 2010
You are outnumbered by a factor of 10 to one, by forces you cannot see. Your body has around ten trillion cells, but it's also home to a hundred trillion bacteria. For every gene in your genome, there are 100 bacterial ones. Most of these are found the dark, dank environment of your bowel but their…
March 3, 2010
Hold your arms out with your palm oriented vertically, as if you were trying to shake someone's hand. Now without moving your forearm, bend your hand downwards towards the floor.  Unless you are freakishly flexible, you will only have managed to a measly acute angle. But if you were a bird, you…
March 2, 2010
I'm trying something new. Right from the start, I've always tried to write fairly long and detailed write-ups of new papers but this means that on any given week, there are always more stories than time and my desktop gets littered with PDFs awaiting interpretation. So, I'm going to start doing…