Welcome to Wonderland! This post represents the official loss of my blog virginity, and I’m excited to be taking that big step with PLoS. Many of the new PLoS blogs (or PLoGs, as we’ve taken to calling them) are being written by amazingly accomplished, astoundingly intelligent scientists. This is not one of them. Once upon a time, I thought I might become a neuroscientist, but today I’m merely a writer with a great love for all things scientific.
I’ve been working as a science writer for about five years now and have spent the last two working as a full-time freelancer out of my apartment in Brooklyn. It’s a great gig—getting paid (mostly) to pursue my wild and weird obsessions. In the last few years I have written about cortical cartography, a nonprofit drug company, odor-detecting ink, what it’s like to spend the winter in Antarctica, and, just for good measure, the Real Housewives of New York City.
This wide range of subjects is what makes science writing so fun for me, but it’s also made it supremely difficult to figure out what to do with this blog. Ultimately, I’ve decided to embrace my broad interests rather than rein them in. Neuroscience and psychology remain my favorite disciplines, and I’ll definitely be writing about research in those areas. But I also expect to cover evolution, ecology, medicine, genetics, and anything else in the world of science that catches my eye. Ultimately, I hope to turn this blog into a virtual cabinet of curiosities. As a kid, I loved to search for pinecones, stones, and feathers out in the woods. Now, I’ll embark upon a digital, grown-up version of that pastime, looking for shiny, scientific tidbits and collecting them here so that we can examine them together.
After much consideration, I’ve decided to call this blog “Wonderland.” What drew me to science in the first place is an overpowering feeling of wonder—at how the brain works, the body works, the world works. That sense of awe over the natural world still drives me. (The other serious title contender was “Coprolalia,” the term for the spontaneous verbal outbursts that sometimes accompany Tourette’s syndrome. Alas, I decided that it would be unwise to name my blog for something associated with uncontrollable streams of profanity.)
Of course, “Wonderland” is also a reference to that strange place where Alice accidentally ventured, and that’s intentional. (Extra credit assignment: Read up on Alice in Wonderland syndrome.) One of Alice’s refrains in the books is “Curiouser and curiouser!” I love that. Dogged curiosity is, I think, what binds journalists and scientists together–the insatiable desire to learn more. If I do it right, this blog will manage to both satisfy and pique your curiosity. (That’s what science does, after all—answer one question only to raise 100 more.) And, if nothing else, it will at least give you something to read when the boss isn’t looking.
P.S. If a post goes up on a blog, and there’s no one there to read it, does it still make a sound? At their best, blogs are collaborations between their writers and their readers. So please don’t hesitate to let me know what you like, what you don’t like, what you’d like to see more of. I want to hear from you.