Spread the word…

By Ed Yong | July 23, 2008 10:52 am

When I started this blog, the intention was to try and use well-written articles on cool discoveries to get people who wouldn’t normally read science blogs to be interested in science. I’ve now been writing for almost two years and while traffic has grown, it strikes me that I still don’t know a lot about my readership, or the ratio of non-scientists/scientists who come to these pages.
So with that in mind, you can help me out by taking up these two challenges:
1) Tell me about you. Who are you? Do you have a background in science? If so, what draws you here as opposed to meatier, more academic fare? And if not, what brought you here and why have you stayed? Let loose with those comments.
2) Tell someone else about this blog and in particular, try and choose someone who’s not a scientist but who you think might be interested in the type of stuff found in this blog. Ever had family members or groups of friends who’ve been giving you strange, pitying looks when you try to wax scientific on them? Send ’em here and let’s see what they say.
Thanks folks. Game on.


Comments (114)

  1. interested reader

    I don’t have a background in science but I do have an inquiring mind. I read your posts to get more details about the topics than I would from other newsfeeds.
    Good writing and interesting topics put this blog in the “read this first” category.

  2. Rob

    I have a small background in science. 1 year of chemistry and some earth science in college. I did double major in Math and Computer Science so I haven’t been two far from the scientific fields. After a 20 year career in computer science, I am returning part time this fall in a second degree program for a degree in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology at Boise State University.
    I read your blog as you cover fascinating research in many interesting areas and describe it in language that mortals such as myself can understand. I am also reading journal papers that peak my interest, but those take significantly more time to read and comprehend.
    I have referenced your blog a number of time in my own. I will further help to spread the word.
    Thanks for the great work!

  3. Alan

    I sort of have a background in science. My undergraduate degree is in cognitive science, though now I’m in IT. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. You focus on interesting topics and provide just enough information to be really informative without getted bogged down in the minutiae. For a non-scientist, it’s the perfect balance. Keep up the *excellent* work!!

  4. Getting a PhD in Physiology and Pharmacology. I like your stuff because it’s the kind of science communication that I want to be able to achieve on my own blog, and the kind of communcation that I wish more scientists would try for. Keep up the good work!

  5. I’m a science PhD student. I enjoy reading about discoveries that aren’t in my field, and don’t require wading through dense journal articles. It helps me remember why I love science in the first place. Keep up the good work.

  6. chezjake

    I’m a retired medical librarian with a bachelors degree in biology. I enjoy your blog because it is well written, has more depth than most “popular” science writing, and because it covers a broad range of science topics rather than a single, limited field.
    I have recommended your blog to a few non-scientist-but-science-curious friends.

  7. I am a postdoctoral research associate at a UK university. My first degree and PhD were in microbiology but I have since changed field and my current topic of postdoctoral research is in eukaryotic cell biology. Given that the focus of my research is on biochemical, molecular and cellular aspects of life, I would not normally be exposed to original literature in the organismal, ecological and evolutionary fields that are more frequently covered by Not Exactly Rocket Science. The blog therefore provides a nice cherry-picking of interesting research from these fields, presented in a summary form that can be read for pleasure.

  8. Elf Eye

    I’m an associate professor of English at state university in Virginia. Had an excellent physical science instructor in college, which probably helps explain why I am fascinated by the natural world. I read articles here for two reasons: (1) out of curiosity and amazement [e.g., “The mantis shrimp has world’s fastest punch”] and (2) because of the social, economic, political, or ecological implications [e.g., “Fishing bans protect coral reefs from devastating predatory starfish”]. As a non-scientist but well-read layperson, I find your writing (like the writing in most of the SciBlogs) to be accessible and, ahem, appropriately framed.

  9. David

    I am a PhD candidate at Rutgers working in ecology and evolution. I found your blog while looking for an article that you had just recently covered: Pauers’ 2008 about the aggressive interactions among cichlids and how it may promote species diversity. I regularly share your postings over my google rss reader share feature and enjoy your blog immensely, as it introduces me to a broader array of topics than I would otherwise see.

  10. I’m a physicist by training (with a graduate degree to decorate my office walls), an astrophysicist by hobby, and a computer scientist by profession. (Specifically ‘scientific programming’, working in the Nuclear Engineering division at Argonne National Laboratory.)
    However, as any scientist will tell you, the higher you go on the education ladder, the more specialized you get and the less you keep in touch with those ‘other’ branches of science. Blogs like this can help even us scientists with keeping literate in other fields.

  11. Bethany

    I’m a scientist turned high school teacher. I have a bachelor’s in Genetics from Rutgers and a master’s in Biology from MIT. I teach both biology and math at a private high school. I like your blog because you write about real science in a way that other people can understand. This ability that you have, to write clearly about things most people would not understand, is the most important ability an educator can have. I like to look for interesting new scientific discoveries I can talk about with my students and your site helps me to locate some outside my field. Thanks for all the work you do!

  12. Charlotte

    My degree’s in maths, but I have a little biology as well and I’m applying for postgrad places in archaeological science (it makes sense to me). I read your blog because it covers a nice range of material, and you write in a way that allows for critical analysis of the research when I know something about the topic but isn’t too baffling when you’re outside my usual range. You’re much more comprehensive and scientific than newspaper science journalism.

  13. Mina

    I’m a recently graduated architect from Mexico. I found your blog here on science blogs. I used to read PZ Myers blog but less and less articles about science were being posted there, and I saw yours here on Sb, and fell in love with the way you talk about science. It’s interesting and approachable, and I love the links to other information you add to the articles. I also really like seeing how involved you are with it -I’ve seen questions asked and answered in comments, which makes this kind of a really cozy place to hang out :)

  14. My only science education came in high school, except for a couple of psychology courses in university a “few years ago”(does psychology count?). But, I too, have an inquiring mind and am a fan of science. I also like to know how my universe works. I came here after following a link from PZ and keep coming here because of your writing style. I also enjoy your magazine articles and am still holding out hope for a book.
    I tell everyone I know to read your blog because there are far too many people in this world who don’t know what they are talking about. I don’t know if any have come here but their loss if they don’t. I will continue to nag them.
    All the best.

  15. I’m a chemical engineer by training, but have always enjoyed biology. I read your blog because I can understand it! Many of the very specific scientific blogs get bogged down in scientific jargon that I lack the training to understand.
    I’ve recommended your blog to both technical and non-technical friends that enjoy reading about the natural world.
    Thanks for your time. I really enjoy reading, even though this is my first-ever comment!

  16. I have a bachelors in Physics, a Masters in Philosophy, and currently I teach mathematics and am finishing an M.Ed. in science and mathematics teaching.
    I have pointed many people to your blog, and will continue to do so. I encourage my learners to read blogs, and I give them a selection of blogs that have good information (required) and well written (a very good plus). This one qualifies on both counts. Thank you!

  17. May

    My background isn’t science, but I’ve always been interested in it because I’ve always been fascinated with the natural world. Plus, I’m a sci-fi geek.

  18. arby

    Non. In fact, so far non that I didn’t graduate from high school. Waaay non. But I’ve always loved science, subscribe to New Scientist, Science News and such. As for your particular blog, I’m afraid I don’t much notice who writes what. I subscribe to Sb combined feeds in my reader, glance at the topic and intro, and read it or click through if it grabs me. However, I just checked your recent posts, and found that I had read many of them. In fact, I’m going to go back now and read the fat mice, epigenetics post. Just read the New Sci article last night about epigenetics, and folate being a powerful methyl group donor. It looks like yours is a little more detailed. So, thanks for the brain ‘spansion! rb

  19. I am an undergraduate student at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. I am a Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology and Spanish double-major, and Mathematics minor and am in Beltsville, Maryland for the summer studying the insect pathogens Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopilae at the United State Department of Agriculture’s Insect Biocontrol Laboratory with research mycologist and molecular biologist. I found your blog soon after I discovered Scienceblogs.com. Your blog is wonderful and I continue to read it because you provide a thoughtful perspective that never is tiring to read. Please continue with your outstanding work.

  20. Skwee

    I’m a high school student & proud science geek who clicked on that ad in the sidebar for the newest ScienceBlogs. I stayed for the spiders.

  21. I study rhetoric, but I’m a great fan of knowledge, whatever the subject might be, and I love to read well-written stuff that might teach me something. I do read a lot of science writing, though, on other levels than Not Exactly Rocket Science.

  22. Ben_Wraith

    I don’t have a background in science, I just spend a lot of time reading science blogs. Your articles usually give a concise, easy to understand writeup of stories.
    If there’s a story I see being carried on a lot of different science feeds, I usually prefer to read the entire story here or from New Scientist.

  23. Mick

    I’m an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis studying neurobiology and physiology. I read your blog because I’m interested in ecology and evolution–and because I try to learn new things outside of class.

  24. Ben

    I’m getting a PhD in Philosophy and Literature. Don’t work on science at all, but enjoy reading about it and feel like it’s my duty as a responsible scholar, if not a responsible adult, to keep at least an ear turned towards the scientific world. Of course, this may all just be justification for having turned reading science blogs into my primary mode of procrastination (since I’m not doing my work, I might as well be learning something).
    I much appreciate your concise and clear explanations of scientific trends and discoveries.

  25. BS in Zoology and now do molecular biology for a nephrology lab in Chicago. Work is boring so I’m looking into grad school for neurobiology. I will certainly be telling my brother, an art grad student and science lover, about your blog because I know it will blow his mind. Keep rockin’.

  26. Mike S

    Working on my BSN with the goal of obtaining an eventual CRNA and another undergrad in philosophy. I want to eventually teach a part-time ethics class.
    I love your blog because you do exactly what you said you were going to; grind up difficult to read papers and mash it back together in digestable chunks for those of us who don’t necessarily have the lingo down to understand the significance of this weeks startling new find in epigenetics.
    On a different note, this is the one scienceblog that I have referred multiple people to (including my girlfriend) and numerous friends that I meet throughout school.



  28. Darwin's Minion

    Biologist specializing in the fields of animal behaviour and evolution here. While journal articles are good for getting the methology and data, they’re incredibly boring reads, and often hard to understand for somebody not completely into the jingo. You (and other good science writers), otoh, make science cool, accessible and fun, and that’s incredibly important in communicating science. And all that without resorting to shallow sound-bites or sloppy science, as is the case with many BAD popular science venues.
    I discovered your blog through an article on Orangutans and bipedalism, and got hooked immediately.

  29. Marcin Ryszkiewicz

    I am interesting in geology and evolution and working in Museum of the Earth, Warsaw (Poland). I read a lot on these topics and write a little bit. Your blog is the best in the field, simply. Thank you.

  30. Yassen

    Dear Ed,
    I am both scientist in terms of obtaining a PhD degree and scientific journalist. A real one, I mean that I am writing for a big economical weekly journal.
    My country is Bulgaria.
    Your blog is probably the best scientific one I have found until now. Please, note that I have more than twenty Sci websites in my RSS Reader.
    So, thank you for the good writing. I have used some of your postings in my weekly “scientific news juice” I post on the science blog of the newspaper.
    Best regards,
    Ya. Pekounov

  31. I loved science as a child, but found things like string theory way too dull. So I’m not a professional scientist, so I cannot read the primary sources very well. But you deliver juicy meat that’s not too raw for my tastes.
    I love your blog, so I’m going to include a recent entry in the next Philosophers’ Carnival. All philosophers should read your blog. We need to know about science but usually find it too hard going.

  32. Jon D

    I dont have a science background aside from physics and chemistry being my favourite subjects at school (along with music).
    I had some excellent teachers who instilled a sense of awe in me when I think about our universe, and inspired me to continue learning as much as I can. So despite not working in any sort of scientific field (property), science has become an engaging hobby over the years.
    I like your blog because you explain things very well, and pick subjects that always interest me.

  33. Gil

    I am a psychiatrist. I like monkeys. That is why I read the blog.

  34. che

    I have a PhD in Biochemistry and I work in the field of redox systems biology. I read the blog because I really like the clear, consise descriptions you provide of topics that are really interesting, but that I just don’t have the time to delve into.

  35. chris y

    I have a negligible science background – an MSc in Computer Science which has had little bearing on my career. But I became obsessed with scientific questions, particularly evolutionary biology (believe it or not, not especially dinosaurs) at about the age of 5, and it has been a large part of my leisure reading ever since (50 years).
    Sites like scienceblogs.com are what I do when normal people are watching television.

  36. Nerdy

    I have a bs in chemistry and am in graduate school (toxicology). I just recently started reading this blog. I think it is very well written, so much so I have sent it to my whole family (none of whom went to college or are in the sciences). They love it and it gives us some common ground.

  37. “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste…”
    Just kidding. You already know me so I won’t take up any more space than is necessary.

  38. Coriolis

    I’m doing a Ph.D. in physics. You strike what is to me a very good balance between hard science and accessibility on papers that are not related to my field but still very interesting. So I find this to be a interesting place to read about scientific achievements outside of physics, that is both better written and more in depth than most other “popular science” sources.

  39. Freeman74

    I have little formal science training, high school level and 101 college courses. I work in IT. I followed a link to your blog from pharyngula, I think. I enjoyed reading your posts so I bookmarked it and have checked it every day since. I appreciate the time you take to entertain/educate me.

  40. I just discovered this blog (2 minutes ago) from a ScienceBlogs advertisement on Greg Laden’s Blog and immediately subscribed by RSS to check it out.

  41. Rich

    I have a Ph.D. in biology and teach at a community college. I love this blog because you keep me up to date on cool research that I use to “spice up” my teaching. I think you have a real knack for making research available to a diverse audience. It’s hard to keep up with all that’s going on in science. You’ve even brought stuff to my attention that was in journals I subscribe to, but haven’t had a chance to read yet.

  42. Matt

    I’m not a scientist at all.
    I just turned 18, and I only took 2 science courses in highschool. I find your articles extremely interesting, and it has even made me explore other articles on this site. I’ve been with you since notexactlyrocketscience.wordpress.com 😉 (just never posted…but I read all your articles)
    Also, I have told people about this. I told about 2-3 people I believe, though I don’t think they ended up coming. None of them are scientists, or majoring in science either though. But one is a University student, the other is my a age. I’m certain the uni student would be interested as she likes stuff like this, she just hasn’t given it a shot.
    Keep writing!

  43. Matt

    Postdoctoral Research Associate in Microfluidics and Microengineering. Found this while finishing up writing my dissertation. Like the informal, but informative style.

  44. Brigit

    I’m a grad student of pharmacology and my bachelors is in chemistry. I came to your site from Pharyngula when you came to Scienceblogs. I stayed for the very good science writing and your lucid explanations of cool stuff I’m not familiar with.

  45. KAS

    Hi! Well, I just came across this Blog today. I am not a scientist, far from it. I am in Human Resources, studying organizational development. But, if science as a career was more lucrative and less competitive; I would definitely be on board. The reason I visit science blogs is that I enjoy learning about science and understanding how things work, or why things work. All things science impassion me (as do politics, but in a less pleasurable way)
    I’m from Boston, MA, am 26yo (f) and am an Army Veteran.

  46. connor

    I am not a scientist (yet) but did biology at college and in the next academic year I will be an undergraduate studying evolutionary biology. I came across these blogs through Richard Dawkins websites amid the Bill Donohue dispute, so I am still a newbie. I love broadening my knowledge on scientific issues and find these blogs very entertaining and thought provoking, so keep up the good work!!!!!!

  47. phyz

    Im a sceptic , got here via Ben goldacre’s blog “bad science .I have 6 olevels in sciency subjects and I also like ,astronomy , cosmology , botany , theoretical phyzx
    and “mind ” sciences strangly I believe 911 was an inside job and not so strangely I believe in UFO’s ( having seen 2 ) . Im a sucker for imperical evidence and not keen on annecdotal / opinions or theories without evidence ie ” string stuff / black holes . Stats can make me shudder .

  48. Engineering followed by economics and management, but a career in big business. Trying to use serious stats and the scientific method in the ethereal new media marketing world. I sometimes feel like the only scientist here. Met you briefly at the Apple Store in London a few months ago.

  49. NP

    I just graduated with an undergraduate degree in cell biology. I enjoy your blog because you provide a good selection of articles that are interesting, well written, and biology-oriented. I’m not sure how I first stumbled upon your blog, but it was probably through one of the links on the SciBlogs sidebar.

  50. Adexterc

    I have degrees in Anthropology& Biology. Got a PhD decades ago in cybernetics. I teach H.S. Science, including Zoology. I read this blog simply because it makes my classes way more interesting than they would otherwise be

  51. I am most definitely not a scientist. I am a shoe repair shop owner for thirty five years, and am looking to retire soon. As a town councilman in a little Eastern Washington town I helped set up a public paleobotanical dig site and interpretive center that explored and educated the public in the Eocine flora of the Okanagan Highlands. We had the advantage of stratified fine volcanic ash that preserved, in great detail, some of the earliest examples of the Acer family and Rose group. I found this blog while reading Seed magazine’s list of science bloggers. If you are interested in the dig, check out: http://www.stonerosefossil.org/ . It’s not the creation museum, but it is inexpensive to visit, and based on real science.

  52. catherine glickman

    I am a lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona. I have very little background in physical sciences, although I have degrees in social science. I belatedly realized, in my 30s, that all that stuff I hated in school is really fascinating and strangely enough, I believe it holds the secret to the meaning of life. I came here from Carl Zimmer’s blog, which I have been reading for a year or so. I understand statistics and some science jargon, but I really appreciate a science writer who can translate scientific findings into plain English!

  53. I’m a freelance journalist in Holland and trying to keep up with interesting novel research, ideas and plain weird discoveries. Once in a while I find an interesting issue on the internet – your blog or elsewhere – and sip from that source of inspiration to come up with complete ideas or sidestreams for new articles to publish in different magazines. No science stuff, general public mainly. All dutch to you, I’m afraid…

  54. niepolski

    I just graduated with a BS in Environmental Engineering, and am a nerd. My favorite posts are the ones about language development, since that’s always fascinated me but I can’t understand the jargon. Partly as a result of reading this blog in my last semester of undergrad, I started talking to a prof about going from engineering to science writing (journalism?). The other part was finding how dull calculating the size of various filters for water treatment plants or similar things could be when I finished off engineering electives. It was more interesting to explain how they worked & why it worked well than the max daily load.
    I keep trying to get my boyfriend to read this regularly, but mostly he just reads the posts I send him direct links to, which he does find interesting. My mom, a science teacher, might like it, but she’s got so much other stuff to do for the next school year I haven’t really mentioned it.

  55. Cecilia

    I am biologist and Masters degree on Ecology and Biodiversity COnservation.
    Now I am teaching to biology students.
    I am here searching for videos and interessing things to my classes.
    Its pretty difficulty to make them more interested on Biology, only with the books.
    I received this URL by another bolg from Brazil named Transferencia Horizontal.

  56. Dread Polack

    1) Tell me about you:
    I’m just a science enthusiast and skeptic. I linked over from another sciency blog, although I don’t remember which. Most of the science blogs I read specialize in a particular subject. I get everything else from you :) That’s what I like about it. I wouldn’t necessarily seek out the topics I read about here. However, it’s common for me to skip over articles here more than on other blogs, but I don’t think that’s a problem.
    2) Tell someone else about this blog:
    I guess I can spam your link to all my smart friends. :)

  57. RBH

    I’m an old guy with an undergraduate degree in anthropology and a Ph.D. in what’s now called cognitive science (cognitive psych+neuroscience+computer science, with some philosophy on the side). Worked in the aerospace and defense industry for 10 years, in academia for 20 years, and now in applied evolutionary algorithms and artificial neural nets for the last 16 years. (Yeah, that adds up to a 46 year working life!) I’m also a visiting prof of biology at a private liberal arts college teaching courses in evolutionary modeling and the history of the evolution/creationism conflict.

  58. My academic background is electrical engineering, although I ended up working in IT instead. I’ve been completely in love with science in general ever since I was a kid, though, so I’ve really been digging the explosion in availability of breaking science to the public that has come along with this whole blogging thing.
    As for why I come here instead of looking for weightier fare… Well, the short answer is that I do both. 😉 I don’t generally go browsing journals or anything, because I just don’t have the relevant background to get through articles written for a professional science audience. However, I devour science books whenever I can.
    There are two main things that keep me coming to science blogs like this one. First, the fact that science books tend to be outdated by the time the first draft is written. By comparison, blogs are continually updated with the latest and greatest. That makes them a great resource for keeping informed! And second that, well, I have a lot of demands on my time, like everybody else, so it’s great to be able to digest science news in bite-sized chunks like this. 😉

  59. I am a clinical/forensic psychologist by training. University Professor and Certified Sport Psychologist. I write a monthly column for Black Belt Magazine on applications of sport psychology to martial arts and competitive combat sports. I conduct research on interpersonal violence, and study human performance under threatening, high-stress conditions. I run blog-site at: http://combatsportpsychology.blogspot.com

  60. I am a science-obsessed non-scientist (university tech support nerd) if that makes any sense at all. I RSS your blog because I enjoy the clear writing on diverse subjects in biology, behavior, and brain science and whatever else you care to throw in the basket.
    (I only use the RSS to scan, btw. When I want to read a post, I click through)

  61. Reached here via “steepdecline” alias Tyler Crowley on Twitter (he has links to you.) Would just like to add here on comments that anything anyone does in order to further the sciences, by that I mean make them more accessible to a wider audience is highly commendable… And..at this moment in time highly desirable, if not to say crucial to our survival; if that doesn’t sound too frantic :). My own background in the sciences is fairly non-existent I’m ashamed to say. But it wasn’t my own choosing. During my general education I had to choose between “The Arts” and “Sciences” in school, a very delineated procedure which left me highly qualified in the former and a dunce at the latter. So: Anyway….Thanks for this blog and know you are appreciated please! (I’m off now to “spread the word” ;)as you requested.)

  62. Marie

    I work in a microbiology and immunology department, but I am not a scientist. I mostly take care of paperwork and research compliance issues. I am currently working on a non-fiction magazine article as an assignment for a children’s writing course I am taking. I happened upon your blog while searching for information on the Sputnik virus, as this is what I chose for my writing assignment. You do an excellent job of writing sound science in a way that someone with little science background (like me) can understand. I’m trying to take that down a step further and present simple, sound science in language that young children can understand. But I have to understand it first myself before I can effectively present it to children! Thanks so much for this site. I’m hoping to write more science articles for children, and I’m sure this site will be a great source of information. Thanks again, and keep writing!

  63. paul barton

    Hi i have some interesting thoughts related to mis-folded proteins and Haemoglobin and Sickle Cell and some weird results in a lady whose haemoglobin count has gone up from 8.4 -9.5 in a year and wondered if you fancied a chat on the phone 07966490048 – i am not a scientist but more of a researcher and just seem to join up the dots in puzzles.
    Paul barton

  64. Ronald K. Olson

    I am a retired elementary teacher. My classroom was my laboratory. Beyond that, my only credentials are that of a compulsive observer and the owner of a brain with the characteristics of a pitbull. I have a consuming passion for thinking, understanding and writing. Since childhood, I have lived three, four, five or more layers beneath the surface. I simply couldn’t take things at face value. When life around me didn’t add up, I had a habit of stating the obvious, which kept me fairly isolated. My tenacity has led me down the paths of philosophy, psychology and theology. The article I responded to regarding consciousness and the decision process is fundamental to the present social science melieu and I believe must be reconciled if mankind is to avoid extinction. To this end, I have established a website in hopes of attracting the attention of credentialed people. If ours is a determined world,as brain science and quantum physics are presently establishing, then living as if it is a free-will world pretty much explains mankind’s pervasive dysfunction throughout history, and unless the social sciences embrace hard determinism as have the branches of mathematics, the physical sciences and the natural sciences, there is little hope for life as we know it. If man is what he thinks, then, http://www.beneficentparentalism.com, is me.

  65. eridanis

    For the purposes of this blog, i’m a science and science-fiction geek. i love science, but got left behind by the math, which i cannot seem to do.
    i got here because i teach a science-fiction / science and ethics class for high school student, and i was looking for some talking points.
    dad, an electrical engineer & science geek and doesn’t give me strange or pitying looks – we have a contest to find cool science websites. looks like i win this week.
    my best friend is a mechanical engineer and science/science-fiction geek as well. he’ll be jealous i found this first.

  66. laura

    hi! i am an italian postgraduate biology student and i really find your blog extremely interesting to read… in this poor time for italian university, with senseless reforms and unmotivated-unmotivating professors, the witty style and interesting discoveries that you present keep my original love for biology awake, if i can say so! this blog is also very helpful to pass on my passion for life sciences to my friends ranging among antropology students, web designers and the likes.. i really think this is interesting for both scientists (or willing to be, like me) and non scientists.. kkep up with the good job, and thanks again!

  67. 1) I came here via the “Science Posts: Latest Posts” widget. Great posts. I’m not a scientist, I work with manufacturing software, but most of the books I read are non-fiction dealing with evolution and cosmology. I also like to take nature photographs, mostly birds.
    2) I maintain the blogroll for the OutCampaign. There are a few over 1000 entries there now and I didn’t recall ever adding your blog and noticed the “A” on the left hand side so added you to the blogroll. Thanks for your support.

  68. complex field

    I hold a bachelors degree in physics and work as a cable splicing technician for AT&T. The job does not entail dong physics, but I take every opportunity to use my education in teaching my children to be on guard against, and do battle against, demagogues.
    My interests include slamming creationism and its cousin, “intelligent design”.
    I am a skeptic and recovering christian.

  69. Hi Ed
    Please can you get in touch with me asap if possible! Its about some freelance work…I’ve emailed you but not heard back, so thought I’d try this approach – hope I don’t appear as a blog message on your site! (which is great)
    Thanks Nicky 07771 785228

  70. Thomas Patrick

    I found your article on vanishing amphibians to be quite lame as I have found most global warming alarmist to exhibit. You have taken a “theory” where a scientist states a reasonable belief, based on his study, and have promoted that belief, in essence, as being a “fact”. You have, either wittingly or unwittingly, directed your readers to a predetermined conclusion based on one man’s belief. Such bias is bad for both science and reporting of science.

  71. I’m pursuing a PhD in biology, so I guess I have a pretty good science background :). I read your blog because it’s well-written and has tons of information I don’t just stumble upon reading science news. I like how you explain the studies methods and methodology as well as interesting results. Besides, I’m a science blogger myself, and always like to read how others explain scientific ideas.
    Not sure what Thomas’ point was of putting his disagreement with a different post in this one… especially when he doesn’t even tell you who he is. But since he did, I’ll respond briefly: your other article explained throughly the study and the factors looked at leading to demise in frog populations in that area. The word “fact” didn’t appear once.

  72. Liz

    I came from a Biology degree and a Science Communication MSc into working in TV. I’m now a researcher for a wildlife/science/adventure tv company, and your blog posts: a) give me inspiration for new territories for tv programmes; b) As someone said earlier, remind me why I was interested in science in the first place; and c) leave me in complete and utter awe at how the hell you have the time to keep this blog up alongside a full time career elsewhere! I do some freelance science writing on the side, but could never, ever find the time to write as eloquently or as thoroughly as you do, on such a wide range of science. Bravo Ed! :-)

  73. I’m a novelist. I did some science early in college prior to going into English, but all that shows is that I had an interest in science. My knowledge is minimal. I love your blog. I read everything, even when it’s (to me) fairly technical, I think it succeeds in communicating the gist of the principles involved. I do tell other people about it & forward posts to people via email, plus talk to my kids about it. Keep doing this. It’s fantastic. There is a place for environmental writing that points out the degradation of the environment and the damage and decline of species. We need to know. But it’s very important to have a lot of writing on the wonder of this world and our universe that science reveals so that we can appreciate it and be re-invigorated for the demanding task of preserving it.

  74. Dior

    I enjoy your blog. As a former researcher now turned high school science teacher, I gotta tell you that several times a month your blog is part of the lesson plan, (especially since I no longer have access to all those lovely journals). Your blog is as varied as the subjects I teach. Please keep writing.

  75. melissa

    I’m an RN/BSN with a gifted son who’s nine years old and cannot get enough biology. He’s obsessed with reptiles and has outgrown all his kid-sized books and opportunities. I am confident he will devour this latest source just as soon as he gets out of school.

  76. I wear many hats. Not literally, they don’t suit me. But I’m an acting research assistant at Oxford University’s Centre for Science and Religion, and tend to focus personally on the psychological side of things. I also, however, have a penchant for quantum physics, though this is an area in which I’m just beginning to take my first steps.
    I’m a freelance writer too (and proofreader, translator, fact checker, tutor and career mentor), so understand what it’s like trying to write well-informed articles in a tight time frame!
    I’m also in online advertising – that’s my ‘day job’, if you like – which basically means I get to play on Facebook and YouTube a lot.
    Great site, keep it up! And regarding #2, you’re going on my Blogroll and there ain’t nothin’ you can do about it 😉

  77. Matlatzinca

    Hi Ed,
    I’m an M.D. with a specialty in Pediatrics (that’s Paediatrics to you). I started reading you on the old site before the move to Sb, and I love that they’ve brought you over to expand your readership. I find that you have a gift for finding exciting science and writing about research in a thoroughly engaging manner. The real world is queerer than we can suppose, and I love finding out about just how fascinating it really is.
    I get plenty of academic reading in my own field. Your blog helps me explore other areas of science research. I particularly appreciate your positive approach and your ability to report on controversial research in an unbiased and objective manner.
    One of these days I’ll start blogging and put you on my blogroll. In the meantime I’ll keep sending out links to your stories.
    Live long and prosper,

  78. choebacca

    I am a fourth year college student finishing my BS this year in biochemistry at a UC (University of California) and have just been accepted to a biochem PhD program at another UC for the fall. I heart science and everything that comes with it.
    I am a recent reader to this blog (I clicked a link here from the NY Times about a month ago) but am enjoying it very much! I like it because even though you simplify a lot of the information, you cover such a wide variety of topics. I am a biochem student but I love all aspects and topics in science and this blog is a good way for me to keep at least somewhat up to speed with all the strange science news that’s always going on.
    I have also been showing some posts to my non-sciencey friends and your simple but thorough explanations make them interested (to varying levels) as well. I am of the mind that science should be for everyone but not all of us are as gifted at sharing that with non-science minded people. Great job Ed!

  79. Nathan Myers

    B.S. Electrical Engineering. This has become my favorite science blog. (Others I follow include Tetrapod Zoology, Catalogue of Organisms, Olivia Judson, Greg Laden.) I’m interested in institutional biases that interfere with proper scientific investigation, the origins of complex viruses, extraction of power from wind by free ion transport, autism treatment, and just about everything posted here so far.
    Besides your exceptional presentation, your blog benefits by your careful choice of exceptionally well-conducted investigations to report on. To have been reported on NERS, therefore, should become a goal of every proud researcher.

  80. I have a Ph.D. in engineering, and currently work as a postdoc in a biomedical field. I’ve been reading your blog for maybe 5-6 months now. I am a sucker for good writing (and yours is great), and I also don’t have time to wade through the jargon involved with interesting scientific news in fields outside of my own. So rock on. The blog is great.

  81. Liz

    I’m a librarian, and a fan of good writing. You wrote so eloquently last year about my sister’s research that I bookmarked you, and have been popping in ever since. Thank you for making current biological research available to a lay-person like me, and for making it so interesting!

  82. I stumbled upon your blog researching virgin birth (found your post on Komodo dragons). I’m a freelance science writer/author and former scientist like yourself! Cool stuff. Loved your interview – funny! My superhero alterego was given me by my editor – WhirlWendee, who slogs through swamps slinging giant mudballs at unsuspecting environmental villains :) One day I’ll write a children’s book on that – ha!

  83. I think you might enjoy my blog Ed. Love your stuff. I really enjoyed your article on Santino the Chimpanzee, as you’ll see if you visit The Loki Times. I think you’ll like the shirts I made about Santino. Take care.

  84. Ed – you may notice at http://www.heifer.org/gifts that the nonprofit organization is celebrating “Pass on the Gift” during April. And today is Manure Day! Believe it or not, manure makes good science in developing countries where impoverished people make the most of their available resources. Like manure from the farm animals they receive from Heifer International that goes into biogas units which provides fuel for heating and cooking. How do biogas units work? Great for global NY Times readers Learn more at http://www.heifer.org/site/c.edJRKQNiFiG/b.2877337/
    All best, Christine

  85. I produce music using solar power only. Although foremost a musician, I am a biologist by education (MSc) and at heart as well. (This is also reflected in some of the lyrics of the Turtuga Blanku songs).
    With my website (http://www.TurtugaBlanku.com) and music, I want to promote the use of renewable energy.
    For this to be effective, one has to take the same approach as you do, mr. Yong, with your website and articles; popularize.
    That is what attracted me to your website.
    Turtuga Blanku
    *Solar Power Music*

  86. Gerald W. Bracey

    I’m a 68 year old psychologist who has spent 42 years in some aspect of public education–not counting the 4 years between age 33 and 37 bumming around Asia, Africa, and Europe. Since 1991 I’ve been an independent researcher, writer and speaker with monthly columns in one periodical since 1984 and anothe since 2005
    I also maintain a group, the Education Disinformation Detection and Reporting Agency which was started in 1995 to try and use the real-time power of the Net to debunk many of the false statistics about the quality of American public Schools. Anyone can join the group by going to http://www.america-tomorrow.com/bracey.
    I was put on to Not Exactly Rocket Science by a friend who pointed me to the blog about the study of Chinese and American students’ knowledge of physics and their ability to reason scientifically. I went to the original story, too. Very interesting although I wish we had more information about the universities in the two countries and the representativeness of the two samples.
    I think that American students who take only one year of physics reason as well as Chinese students who take 5 (although the Chinese kids clobber the Americans on content knowledge–not exactly rocket science–might say a lot about the two systems.
    It also might reflect a lot of progress in Chinese education although I don’t know how much the Chinese system ever resembled the Hong Kong system. As a graduate student in my twenties, I spent a year in Hong Kong and occasionally lectured in developmental psychology to advanced undergraduates at Hong Kong University. The first time, I prepared notes and some questions to stimulate thought an discussion (being a product of MY culture). The students just sat there when I asked a question and the head of the Psych. department said they were probably embarrassed that I didn’t know the answers to my questions. Hong Kong in those days seemed to have an “anti-reasoning” curriculum. A friend who is there now says that only now is it moving to require “liberal studies” which seems to be a lot about critical thinking, diversity, and individual differences. At this moment, though, schools are required to emphasize only English, Chinese, and mathematics.

  87. Hi Ed: I’m an entomologist and insect palaeontologist [Ph.D. Entomology, 2009; B.Sc. (Hons) Palaeobiology, 2004] and although I only recently discovered Not Exactly Rocket Science through a post on the Royal Entomological Society forums, I am rapidly becoming a big fan. Although I am primarily an academic and spend most of my time doing research, I am also very interested in raising public awareness and understanding of entomology and science in general; exactly what you are doing here at Not Exactly Rocket Science. Keep up the great work!

  88. OftenWrongTed

    Hey Ed: I read when I’m not surfing or hiking in Hawaii, I prefer the likes of great science writers like Jonah Lehrer, Dave Dobbs, Lewis Thomas, Charles Darwin, Loren Eisley, and you. In life I was an Airline Captain and read when flight duties allowed. Your writing is cool beans.

  89. I’m have a PhD in biochemistry, studied Hedgehog signaling. My post doc’ed in DNA repair of Tuberculosis bacteria. I left the lab August 2008 to take over the production of a video game called Immune Attack. I think that 7th graders and the public can easily understand much more molecular science than they are typically exposed to, we just need to expose them to molecular science in ways they can understand. A video game motivates players to understand the interactions of many complex characters, their activators, inhibitors, working partners, and favorite weapons… Sounds like biochemistry to me! I just started a bit of “churnalism” to quote you, on my website. I want to address the public and middle school teachers, and show them where they can go for more detail. I want to point out cool papers that come out in microbiology, molecular science and other topics relate to my game, and explain why they are significant. I also hope to point out great sites for actual descriptions of the science. I referred my imaginary readers to your page for your post about Grice t al., and the bacteria.
    Thank you for your great site. I love reading it.

  90. Cambrico

    I found your blog by coincidence, reading Sb and I think you really succeeded in translating obscure scientific language in something we can understand. I am an engineer and love science, including biology and medicine, but I need someone like you to translate the specialized jargon to more mundane language without losing quality. I am becoming a fan of your blog.

  91. Leslie

    I have zero background in science but LOVE your blog. I am a huge fan of nature/wildlife documentaries and enjoy learning about true oddities in this crazy world. Your articles break down new and strange scientific theories and studies in a way that is easy for even me to read. I like.

  92. Suz

    I am a technical translator, which involves staying abreast of virtually anything new in the scientific field. Not really a piece of cake for me since my background is actually humanities, so I particularly appreciate clear explanations that even I can understand. After I have burned out a day’s worth of neurons on train braking systems, drug trials and kitchen English from all over the world, I like to read some legible, understandable, and entertaining science writing to rest my aching brain. Having still a childish (but obviously widely shared) liking for prehistoric beasties, I came to this blog through TetZoo but also enjoy your posts about all things not dinosaurian tremendously (loved the recent post about conversation). Thank you for the good work!

  93. I am a female PhD student in Cell Biology, and did my Bachelor and Master studies in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering respectively. I just found your website today, and love your writing already! I’m hoping to improve my own writing skills, and at one time was keen on starting a science blog myself. Instead I began work on a biology notes website for the IB/AP/A-level syllabus (I tutor some students) but progress is extremely slow :p Reading your website is a break from my usual reading list (kinetochores, chromosome alignment, cell division stuff). Thanks for the awesome articles!

  94. Simon

    I have no science background, infact at high school I was adimsal failure at any sort of scientific endeavour.
    However, since becoming a parentI have broadened my desire to know more about the world around me.
    I was introduced to this website by said offspring who sent me bizarre photographs of seed beetle genitalia!
    We have also developed a realisation that we are both ‘confirmed atheists’, especially after reading Prof Dawkins excellent book The God Delusion. The current attack on science generally by religious funamentalists of many creeds is positively scary, any writer who can encourage non scientific intelligent thinkers to delve further & examine reality for them selves has got my support. Keep up the good work & I enjoy reading your blogs on a regular basis.

  95. I absolutely love reading your blog. The writing style is as engaging as the topics, and the variety is refreshing when compared to more specialised blogs.
    My background is in the arts rather than the sciences. I excelled in all the base classes (save physics), and had seriously considered the idea of following a scientific career path but ultimately chose art. Recently, in returning to take a few college classes for personal growth, I took a psychology course that was taught with an emphasis on neuroscience. Since then, my interest has been renewed in following studies and new development. I have such an overwhelming appreciation for the bloggers like yourself who give more than a blurb and some hazy facts, and who can break down the results and terminology into something easily digested while sipping at my morning coffee.
    Thanks again for such a great science blog!

  96. Elissa Fazio

    Hi Ed, I’m a small business owner and “citizen scientist.” I was an art history major in college and shunned all the sciences since I wasn’t very good at them in school but I have a great curiosity about nature and have been an avid bird watcher for almost 30 years. I live in southern AZ so hummingbirds are abundant. I recently got permitted as a hummingbird bander and am humbled to get to know these little gems “up close and personal.” I read many science blogs and can’t remember which sent me your way but I love your blog and find myself fascinated by all your posts – even on subjects I never thought I’d be interested in. Thanks for all your good work.

  97. Dior

    Hi Ed, I am an ex-researcher turned small town science teacher. I truly believe in the mission of communicating science to a bucolic Mormon small town. As such I read your blog (and a few others)every day. I use these blogs to give me ideas on lessons, and I write a weekly science article in our town newspaper, and you often give me ideas on what is the newest stuff to write on (since I no longer have access to my usual journals). I turn as many of my students and others to your blog as I can as well. Please keep up the excellent work. Your award is very well deserved.

  98. Farzaneh Sarafraz

    I am a PhD student in computer science, computational linguistics, text mining in biomedicine. I am from Iran (so will naturally be into blogosphere) and live in the UK. My mum is a biologist (hence my interest in your biological posts) and one of my hobbies is reading about neuroscience.

  99. Dianne

    I am not a scientist, friend or family member. I came to your blog by way of an article about why positive thinking can depress some people rather than make them feel empowered (full disclosure: I have had zero success with positive thinking as a motivator). Anyway, I read your related comments and decided to follow your blog for awhile. I have an unscientific mind, but a curious one.

  100. Lauren

    I’m a student at a California CSU, studying Microbiology. I’ve enjoyed these stories and appreciate the diversity of topics as compared to my other science related blogs I read.

  101. Rob

    I am in the throes of my second undergrad degree from Sydney Uni, my first was commerce and am now in my final year of a B.Sc majoring in Biochemistry and on track to begin studying medicine next year.
    I stumbled onto this blog through perhaps Pharyngula, which was my introduction to the world of blogging, and particuarly enjoy your stories because they are different and interesting, and the right size for a quick knowledge injection on my iphone just about anywhere!

  102. I’ve just graduated from Cambridge doing Genetics. Like a lot of people, I guess, I read Ben Goldacre’s book and realised that something needed to be done, and had the vague idea that I might be able to help do it. I started off just reading blogs and got interested in other sides of science reporting, not just talking about bad science. After graduation, a friend and I decided to join forces and start our own blog, http://www.blue-genes.net to discuss the things that we think need discussing.
    So, in short, I’m an early career scientist who is reads blogs like yours to find about interesting science and talk/think about pseudoscience

  103. Neil Rickards

    My name’s Neil. I think we met once…
    Congratulations on winning the award – was thorougly well deserved!

  104. danika

    I’m a poet, and I read your blog because it’s a good survey of a variety of information animal, vegetable, mineral I might not otherwise come across, and can file away for use in poems. I’ve also found it’s a good source of material for keeping a conversation lively – I often find one article or another you’ve written about allows me to ask more interesting questions of someone I meet or see.

  105. françoise ibarrondo

    I write a biology science blog “evo-bio” (http://evobio.blog.lemonde.fr/) and I love beginning each day by reading your great posts. Thank you ED,

  106. Roy

    I’m a science/policy junkie with degrees in wildlife resource management, environmental science, environmental planning, and water resource policy.
    I found you via Google while reading about Ida and searching for the orginal paper (always best to read the stuff yourself IF you have the time).
    Good stuff here. I’ll be back.

  107. Jessica

    I’m a 27-year-old former neuroscience graduate student. I now work at a university medical center and provide assistance with writing papers for publication, which I enjoy immensely. I read this blog because it’s a way to find articles on fascinating subjects, some of which I use as examples in class.

  108. I am collection manager for Science Technology and Medicine at the British Library. Check us out on http://www.bl.uk/science. We have a fan page on Facebook, too. http://tinyurl.com/355azur
    I am interested in how scientists find and use information, and especially if and how they use Web 2.0 tools. Your blog is an excellent example of how to do that well. Keep it up!

  109. Christine

    I’m a lawyer and mother of two teenage boys. I read your blog to have interesting things to talk to my sons about and share the world together. Also, not to make you self-conscious, I’ve been trying to parse what makes your writing so effective in order to improve my own writing, particularly blog articles on the law. Finally, it’s just interesting!

  110. Pam

    This is my third time on this thread so I guess I’ve been following you for at least three years. Doesn’t seem that long. I love it. I am an artist with a degree in philosophy and an insatiable curiosity which reading this blog helps sate. I look for interconnectedness in things for inspiration for my artwork so this blog again often provides insights. I recommend and repost some of my favorites of your posts hoping others will also find them fascinating. I love the variety – it’s a virtual beverage bar for a thirsty mind. Thank you Ed.

  111. Miss bombardier beetle

    I’m a high school student who started reading children’s science magazines like Ask and Muse in 3rd grade. When I grew out of those magazines, I started reading the books that the articles were from. That’s how I found some of my favorite books like Superbug and Beating Back the Devil. I found your blog through a Muse article on Megaphragma mymaripenne. This summer I’m volunteering at the California Academy of Sciences as a Teen Advocate for Science Communication. For the application I had to write a science limerick, so here it is:
    There once was a wasp on a thrips
    All other wasps this one outstrips
    It does manage to fly
    With few nuclei
    And away the tiny wasp zips!

  112. Muerte Mallard

    I’m a technology Architect with a vast Blue technology company and I spend my day leaning back in my chair for seconds and sometimes even minutes a day waiting for the correct inspiration to strike.

    I like this blog for the range and depth of its content, the effort put in to finding, explaining and commenting on the subjects it chooses.

    I found it through Bad Astronomy, and it’s now a regular stopover when I feel the urge to trawl or surf the nets.


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Not Exactly Rocket Science

Dive into the awe-inspiring, beautiful and quirky world of science news with award-winning writer Ed Yong. No previous experience required.

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