Science Writing Sampler Platter

An exciting part of my new job at the Nature Research Center of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences is that I’ll also have a faculty appointment somewhere in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

One of my new colleagues is Dr. Cat Warren, Associate Professor of English at State and editor of Academe magazine (and accompanying blog) of the American Association of University Professors.

If all goes well, I’m hoping to be able to contribute to the curriculum for the Master of Science in Technical Communication in the NCSU Department of English.

Cat asked me for a few representative posts to share with my potential new colleagues and I thought I’d put them up here under a single URL. While I do have a sampler over and up to the right – and include one of those posts below – I wanted to provide a more broad overview of my writing from the five blogs where I have a presence.

1. Drugs from the crucible of nature (Scientific American Guest Blog) – The invitation by Bora Zivkovic to write at the new SciAm blog network for Chemistry Day in August allowed me to discuss the traditional and modern contributions of my research field.

2. Trine Tsouderos on This Week in Virology: When do you fact-check article content with sources? (Take As Directed, PLoS Blogs) – An interview on Vincent Racaniello’s excellent webcast with the superb Chicago Tribune science reporter had me question what I had always thought was a prohibitive tenet of journalism. This relatively quick post unexpectedly generated a tremendous comment thread from some of the top names in science journalism.

3. Marking the magnificent memory of Henrietta Lacks (Terra Sigillata, ScienceBlogs) – My participation in the gravestone dedication of the HeLa cell donor and visiting with her family was one of the most moving experiences in my life as a scientist.

4. “The current phenomenon of ‘bloggers’ should be of serious concern to scientists” (Terra Sigillata, CENtral Science) – An opinion piece by the editor of the journal Analytical Chemistry led many commenters to discuss his archaic views on the role of blogging by practicing scientists.

5. James Ray and testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) (Science-Based Medicine) – My monthly gig at SBM affords me the opportunity to share stories on alternative medicine to a relatively large audience. In this post, I discuss some of the drugs that law enforcement authorities found in the Arizona sweat lodge hotel room of the New Age self-help/self-promoter now imprisoned for negligent homicide.

6. Why Terra Sigillata? (Terra Sigillata, CENtral Science) – I periodically update this, my second blogpost ever, to discuss where I came up with my original blog name. It’s okay to just call it, “Terra Sig.”

And for those who want a little more background of how I got to this point in my writing pursuits, my About page at Terra Sig is a good reference.

I hope that these posts give my colleagues a flavor for the scope of my science writing for diverse audiences. Readers new and old might care to revisit a few of these and perhaps even suggest others for inclusion on this list.

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