The return of the “Who are you?” thread

By Ed Yong | July 5, 2010 12:00 pm


Around two years ago, I started a thread asking readers to identify themselves, say something about their background, and tell me a bit about why they were reading this blog. That thread was resurrected last year and has since acquired more than 200 comments. They’re some of my favourite comment threads – it’s incredibly motivating to see what a diverse range of people I’m writing for.

So let’s do it again. In the comments below, tell me who you are, what your background is and what you do. What’s your interest in science and your involvement with it? How did you come to this blog, how long have you been reading, what do you think about it, and how could it be improved?

But really, these questions are a rough guide. I’m working on the basis that what you have to say will be far more interesting than what I think you might say.

So say as little or as much as you like, but do say something, even if you’ve never commented before and even if you commented on the last “Who are you?” thread.

(PS – Thanks to Drugmonkey for restarting this meme. He’s got a fuller list of everyone else’s threads too)


Comments (161)

  1. I own a tanning salon in the historic Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia. I was a biochem major 1000000 years ago, thought I’d do something science-y but that didn’t pan out. I found you & your blog on Twitter, maybe 6 months ago. I like the quick wit you often display. Can’t think of any way you might improve…

  2. yaay~! Second to comment~!

    I’m a physics undergraduate from University of Malaya, am interested in zoology initially but my dad was worried that I might end up getting too involved in animals.. and stay in forests and never want to come out anymore

    So ended up choosing physics. Nevertheless this is an interesting subject and I find myself really enjoying physics and mathematics now.
    And I stumbled upon your blog one day while I was searching resources for my own science blog… And find your blog really interesting and so… yea pls keep up the good work Ed~!!

  3. I’m a geologist and blogger; I found this blog b/c the writing is superb; I don’t read every single post but most of them.

  4. Matt Greenall

    I’ve worked on HIV and sexual health programmes in low-income countries for over ten years. At the moment I am freelance, mainly involved in conducting and interpreting research, providing advice on policy and designing programmes (and helping to get them funded!), and evaluating programmes. I work on a range of types of project – from small-scale NGO projects to national AIDS programmes. I wouldn’t describe myself as a scientist but I feel it is essential that what I do be based on scientific evidence.

    I am pretty sure I came across your blog on twitter. Although I keep up with the research in my own field I don’t get to see much else. I like the breadth of what you cover, including stuff it just would not occur to me to look up or even care about otherwise. I just find it all jolly interesting!

    On another point, I am really glad you are doing this – asking about your readers. I see quite a lot of blogs vs/and journalism discussions going on but they seldom seem to discuss the “market” for each, why readers might choose to read one or the other, or indeed both.

  5. CW

    I’m in sales & operations for an Audio/Video installation firm in Michigan. I’ve become an enthusiast of science these past 4-5 years after discovering science debates on youtube, a podcast called Skeptics Guide to the Universe, and Phil Plait. I really enjoy science blogs that can discuss current topics/studies/research in a layman’s language, as well as tie it to core principles of that particular field of science. I also appreciate your wit, candor, and also that you take the time to provide responses to other commenters’ who make strong, coherent points.

  6. Tom Masterson

    Hi Ed! I stumbled upon your blog through someone on twitter a couple of weeks ago and I think it’s one of the best things I’ve found on the net! I’m an Operations Manager at a Biotech company in Canada that produces photodynamic products – mostly antimicrobials for anything from gum disease to MRSA decolonization… The technology is REALLY cool, and it is one of the reasons I love my job. I’m not commenting to advertise my company, so if you want to learn more you can fire me an email, or look up Prof. Mike Wilson at UCL, he’s the pioneer!

    Anyhow, I graduated from the University of British Columbia in Genetics in 2007, Dad is a doc, Mom is a nurse, so health related stuff really catches my eye.

  7. BL

    Hi Ed! I’m an actuary.. think i came across your blog from the best blog sites from TIME Magazine!! Unlike most of your readers, I hated science (dad is a researcher & science geek!) .. but you have made me interested in science all over again… kinda wished i persuaded science!! =) keep up the great work!!

  8. Zach

    I’m a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, enrolled in the bio honors program.

    I come from quite a rural background, and science simply fascinates me. I stumbled onto your blog from Google Reader, and I read it alongside PZ Meyers Pharyngula. I’m hoping to get into research one day.

    Your blog is really top notch, as far as blogs go. I love that you do dip into stuff outside of astronomy and physics, so you should definitely keep that up.

  9. Autistic researcher who prefers just to look at data. But seeing as I have to write a lot, I try to read & learn from good science writers. Also am interested in comparing the quality of science writing in autism & non-autism areas.

  10. I just graduated law school. I’m studying for the bar this summer, and looking for a job. In my funzies time I blog about feminist and sexuality issues, and read books. In college, I majored in biology and psychology, with a chem minor. i was originally premed, but apparently the MCAT is hard if you don’t bother studying for it. (still got a 28, though).

    I’m also currently planning my wedding– I’m engaged to another future lawyer, and we’re both hating our bar review course. I’m 25, I live in Boston, and my fiance and I need to find a new apartment by September 1st.

    I like to read about science, and I miss studying it– a lot. I like the opportunities law will give me to help people and have a fulfilling career, but it just isn’t as cool as cells are.

  11. I’m an academic scientist working on topics of behavioral pharmacology. My current areas of interest are heavily influenced by substance abuse issues.

    I think I started reading NERS only when you came to, sadly enough. I enjoy the breadth of coverage and the topicality; nice to have the science news of the day in the MSM covered with a little bit more meat. Okay, a LOT more meat. And citations links.

    I do enjoy the PocketScience entries so keep those coming.

    Beyond the content issues, I enjoy watching you work with the blog form. I am a dilettante with respect to all things bloggy but it forms almost another academic interest to see how people use this to actually accomplish things. I admire your discipline in sticking to the mission, your more personal excursions on Twitter that build your fan base and, although this comment undoubtedly bothers your English sensibilities, your excellent writing style.

    I do not, typically speaking, forward blog entries to friends, family and colleagues, sorry about that. As much as I would anyones, yours are in the top rank however. You know, being as how you are respectable and all….

    Final note is that as one of those scientists who has a reflexive distrust of journalist coverage of science, I appreciate that you go above and beyond to seek out quotes and clarification from scientists whose work you are discussing. I can deduce from your appreciative comments about Frans de Waal that you put in a lot more effort than is repaid. I appreciate your attempts to provide the opportunity for input, even when they do not result in a quote for your entries.

  12. Grad student

    2nd year PhD student in molecular biology/ microbiology at a MRU.
    I think I added all the Discover blogs onto my feed…generally I’ll read as time allows.
    I just like to read about science in general. Most topics interest me, even if I have little exposure to them.

  13. MindDetective

    I’m a junior assistant professor of psychology at a moderately sized midwest university. I teach statistics, experimental design, cognitive psychology, and a variety of other things. I followed a link from Bad Astronomy a couple months back. I’m here, like many, for a reaffirming skeptical take on science-related news.

  14. Ryan

    I’m an accountant in/from the Bahamas. Have slowly become fascinated with science over the past few years to the point where I am quitting my job and going back to school for marine ecology. It would be fair to say that your blog (along with everyone else at ScienceBlogs & Discover) helped contribute to that, but I’ll refrain from thanking you until I see how things work out.

    Note to everyone else at Discover and ScienceBlogs: I read your blogs too, but time and Google reader prohibit me from commenting on a regular basis.

  15. Steve

    I’m an information analyst, a title mostly of my own invention, who has a degree in computer science. Many years ago in my undergraduate days we used to joke that any discipline with “science” in its name only aspires to be a science — and the older I get the more I realize and accept the joke’s truth. So I seek out blogs like yours; they keep me grounded in reality. When my wife heard you at Science Online earlier this year, I added you to my feed.

  16. Kelsey

    I am a recent graduate from Reed College, in Portland, OR where I received a BA in Biology. While writing my Thesis I found a convenient way to procrastinate without feeling like procrastinating (because I was learning!) I eventually completed my Thesis, graduated, and was done with classes, which felt awesome…until I started to really miss the whole learning business. Luckily there was Not Exactly Rocket Science to rescue me from my post-graduation depression and learning withdrawls. Thanks Ed!

  17. Associate Professor, evolutionary biologist, genome biologist. I read your blog because it’s one of the few examples of science writing that I always trust to be both interesting and accurate. Plus, you often find great material that I then use in lectures. I also blog (, but not prolifically these days.

  18. valdivia

    Social scientist here working on institutions. Love reading about the ‘real’ sciences in ways that are accessible and non jargony. Can’t remember now how I found your blog but have been lurking here for a while. I really learn a lot from reading you, thanks much.

  19. chris

    I’m a nurse, working in a hospital on a mental health unit. I started reading Bad Astronomy and then subscribed to the Discover Blogs feed and you came with. I enjoy reading and sharing your articles. I love learning about science. Our world is fascinating.

  20. HAE

    I am a veterinary student and animal behaviorist. My background is in neuroscience and behavioral biology, focusing on primate evolution especially of the social and cognitive variety.
    I follow your blog because you do an excellent job of explaining the science in lay terms, a truly invaluable service to science. You tell the interesting stories without making the mistakes of many science writers – namely inaccuracies, misinterpretations, and oversimplification.
    Keep it up. Thanks!!

  21. Graduate student in Developmental Psychology, beginning my fourth year. I do brain imaging research of reading and dyslexia, in addition to my animal cognition research. Been reading for several years, at least. NERS was (and continues to be) one of the primary motivators for me to start blogging in the first place.

  22. Mary Milek

    Currently practicing law, in but I am secretly a neuroscience/human behavior junkie. This is probably why I practice Family Law. Love you blog because you make science accessible to the lay person. Please keep it up!

  23. JimN

    My wife and I own a children’s clothing boutique in Austin, TX. I have always loved learning and never stopped even after my college career ended. Your site attracts people from all backgrounds and diverse interests because it satisfies our love of learning.
    Great job, love the blog.

  24. I am a lifelong student of Christian Science and am now conducting our Sunday and Wednesday evening services, after having spent 20 years working at Microsoft. I believe that someday the earth sciences will come to find Donald Hoffman’s (Cognitive Scientist) words to be true: “I believe that consciousness and its contents are all that exists. Space-time, matter and fields never were the fundamental denizens of the universe but have always been, from their beginning, among the humbler contents of consciousness, dependent on it for their very being.”

    I enjoy science and technology and seeing where the leadings minds are at. I enjoy your blog for its clear elucidation and wit. Keep it up!

  25. Jamie

    I’m a Master’s student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. A professor mentioned your blog during a lecture in Ichthyology. I wrote it in the margin of my paper and looked it up that night. Been reading ever since.

  26. Interesting path I took to get here

    NetNewsWire RSS Feeds > Arctic Startup Feed > Followed this feed “Want to get advertisers on your blog/vlog? Go and GET IT!” by Gary Vaynerchunk > referred to Popurl > link to your blog

    all in the search for another way to reach out to inform of the crafts I design and sell …

  27. Andy Van Pelt

    I’m a software engineer at Qualcomm. I’ve always been interested in science (wanted to be a “scientist” when I was growing up.
    I started reading the Discover Magazine feed about 6 months ago through Google Reader. I’m not actually sure how many times I’ve read *your* column, as it’s not always clear who the author is unless I click on the article. There’s usually so many articles/day in the Discover Magazine feed that I don’t click through them, as there’s not enough hours in a day if I do that.
    Anyway, always glad to have informative blogs on the internet to counterbalance those that are not.

  28. magetoo

    I’m just some guy on the Internet, I guess. Not involved in doing science in any way, but have always had an interest and like Kelsey above, found that reading science-related blogs is a form of procrastination that is pretty easy on the conscience. :)

    Also read a bunch of skeptic / atheism blogs; I enjoy reading those that get into the personal, political and polemical, but very much appreciate having a more strictly pscience-focused blog to come to as well.

    I started reading on Scienceblogs (and left a comment in the previous thread too). Dislike people who believe that “[sic]” stands for “Hey look at me everyone, I found a spelling error!” and gets uneasy when large groups of people agree with each other that something is bad.

    Convinced that Uncle Al is really just an advanced chatbot with a very large knowledge database. Am just now having a most deserved beer.

  29. GoHoosiers

    I’m an Indiana University undergrad studying economics and Latin. My reasons for reading echo many of those above: interest in learning, fascination with the natural world, and desire for a guilt-free procrastination outlet. Although not precisely sure on the timing, I think I stumbled on NERS 2-3 years ago while it was still hosted by Science Blogs. I had subscribed to Respectful Insolence (which I actually don’t read anymore) and was browsing through the other blogs. Your title caught my eye and the combination of quality writing and diverse subject matter has kept me hooked. I can’t think of much to improve; it’s rare to find one well written and instructive piece, let alone consistent production of hundreds of solid posts spanning several years. Thanks.

    P.S. I recall glancing over the first few blog posts and thinking, “Hm, this could be interesting to read, but I’ve got way too much stuff on Google Reader already.” The tipping point for me was seeing the dedication to your wife. Good writing and respect for family was just too much to turn down!

  30. Hi Ed!

    I come from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. I’m an architect by profession, but I do maintain a modest blog where I tackle a variety of topics. I’m an ardent believer in the power and beauty of science. I fell in love with your blog at first sight, I just liked how you combine simplicity, clarity and specificity in your writing. I salute you for all the effort you’re putting into this. It’s imperative in this day and age for science to be communicated to the public, free of religious or political slant. The comments of some of your intelligent readers are also quite enriching.

    Keep it up, mate :-)

  31. DonK

    I’m a baker. Science is what I use to manipulate the ingredients to make the bread. I found your blog through an article you wrote for Science Centric and have been following it ever since. I admire most your ability to write on such a range of complex topics in a concise and approachable manner.

  32. I’m a 6th year molecular biology PhD student in Texas. I started reading your blog because I would like to use my degree to become a writer of some sort, and I find your blog terribly inspiring and intimidating. Several times a day, I find myself perplexed at your ability to pump out well-researched, thoughtfully laid out pieces that (clearly) speak to scientists and lay people alike. Several times a day.
    If you taught a class on how you do what you do, I would take it.

  33. I graduated in Natural Sciences (with highest honours at Cambridge Univ– no wait, that was your university Ed if I remember correctly… I graduated at the less prestigious and much more decadent Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Scienze Naturali). In September I will begin a MRes in Ecology at the University of Aberdeen.
    I am very, almost insanely interested in pretty much everything which concerns science, especially ecology, biodiversity, evolution and cool animals. That is one reason for which I read this blog. Another is that I want to improve my English, and this is good training. Another yet is that I like Ed’s style, as he knows how to be deliciously humorous and yet very clear, worth of comparison to Richard Dawkins (and perhaps even myself. Wait, I was supposed not to write this. D’oh!). I do not remember how I discovered this blog, but if you like I can make up a strange yet pretty credible story.
    As for myself, I like natural sciences (in case you skipped the rest of this entry), soil mites, crabs, dogs, cats, trees (especially beeches and pines), nordic landscapes, Mediterranean landscape, literature, writing, a few movies, the Simpsons, Lost, karate, Italian food, jogging, football, wit, good Italian grammar, sunrises, funny clouds, the model/actress/goddess of some perfume commercial I saw last evening and whoever is really reading all this. I dislike religion, stereotypes, politicians (especially Italian ones), contracted forms, cigarettes, the mosquito flying around me in this moment and almost everything I did not mention in the previous sentence. This is the scientific blog I read most often, and the one I always suggest to my friends and acquaintances who share my interest in science

  34. Emp

    Hey, I don’t really comment much, but since you asked… 😛

    I’m a twenty-one-year-old female biochemistry student (undergraduate) from Philadelphia with aspirations for a PhD in cell and molecular bio. I have loved science since I was old enough to have heard of dinosaurs and amoebas and atoms (which was when I was about three – I have great parents.) As far as my science background is concerned, I work in a biochemistry/biophysics lab doing research and it’s what I love more than anything.

    But even though I’m mostly wrapped up in my own field, I love to learn new things about a variety of types of sciences, and that’s one of the reasons I think this blog is awesome. It’s not always easy to decipher research papers outside my areas of expertise, but you always have a way of explaining them in a way I can comprehend. Better yet, I can send links to your posts to my non-scientist boyfriend and friends, and they can get a little glimpse into the latest research, too.

    That said, another reason I like this blog is that while it’s definitely understandable for laypeople, you don’t “dumb it down” too much or make it useless to people who actually have some knowledge of the subject you’re discussing. I think your reporting is always very thorough and credible, and that’s one of the main reasons that out of all the science blogs I read, NERS is one of only three that is ALWAYS open in a tab on my browser.

    Wow, I rambled a bit, sorry! Just wanted to let you know I’m out here, faithfully reading every post and anticipating new ones. Keep up the great work. :)

  35. reparker

    I’m a nerd in Virginia who just finished high school. In August I’ll be starting at Tulane where I plan to study biology in some form, I just haven’t picked a favorite part yet. It’s too difficult.

    As far as how I came to be reading the blog at this moment in time, I’m in the same boat as Andy (#26). I added the Discover blogs feed to my Google Reader a few months ago and just kind of struggle to keep up with them all in their blended-togetherness, although I am fairly sure that I don’t skip over this one like I do with some others upon occasion. That must be a good sign!

  36. Chiral

    I’m a electrical engineer in California who dreams of being able to go back to school and do science. I’ll probably never be able to for various reasons, but I am curious about everything and reading blogs like yours helps keep me going when my job and life are boring me to tears.

    I can’t remember how long I’ve been reading. A couple of years, probably.

  37. I’m a 30-year-old zoology graduate from Wales. I’m about to embark on a Masters by Rearch in Leeds University (as long as I can secure a loan) which will hopefully be the precursor to a PhD study in population biology and genetics. I’m a bit of a primate nut and considered going for a primatology MSc, but decided that such specialisation would ultimately be very restrictive. While I do love primates, I like to think that I’m ultimately a generalist; everything is fascinating and wondrous. Beyond zoology, I have burgeoning interests in physics, chemistry and geology.

    While it would be true to say that I have always loved nature, circumstances dictated I follow another path for a while. Thus I ended up spending 5 years in art college studying the traditional animation followed by 3 years working in IT before finally deciding that I couldn’t resist the call of my most fundamental passion.

    I came to subscribe to this blog by my usual method of checking back with increasing frequency until the quality of the posts wins me over. I think I’ve been reading for around a year now, though it could very well be longer. I’m continually impressed by the content and style of your articles (I’ve linked to several from my own, vastly inferior blog). As for improvements? I quite honestly can’t think of any off the top of my head. Should that change, I shall return!

  38. I just got my BS in Physics and Astronomy a few months ago, and will soon be attending a grad program for science communication. While I enjoyed learning physics, I enjoy explaining it to others even more. I hope to eventually work in a children’s science museum. I mass-subscribed to all the Discover blogs a few months ago, and yours (along with Bad Astronomy) is one of my favorites!

  39. I’m a cognitive science grad student from South Africa. I started off in social science – I took PPE at the University of Cape Town – but moved into a more scientific direction when I realized ‘social’ and ‘science’ often don’t go well together.

    I’m not sure now how I discovered your blog – I think one of the ‘big’ psychology bloggers linked to you, I enjoyed your focus on primary research, so I subscribed. I’ve been a regular reader for about 2 years, and I guesstimate that I read around 70% of your posts, and scan the rest. (Your intro and concluding paragraphs are often quite informative…).

    Suggestions for improvement… I know your policy is to screen the papers first and then blog (so you don’t write about bad papers). But even good papers often have problems or limitations, and more commentary on these from you would be interesting. You do so occasionally, I know, but I think more of it would be useful. Over-hyped stories – “synthetic life” – deserve a critique. (Sure, your satire was great, but I, for one, would have enjoyed a substantive take from you).

    Oh, and I’m a big fan of your Saturday links posts. Keep them coming…

  40. I’m a business analyst from British Columbia who suffers from insatiable curiosity about all things science-y. I particularly appreciate well-written, not rife with jargon articles that let me pretend I’m keeping up with the latest and greatest developments even though I’m in no way connected with the scientific community.

  41. I’m a blogger (qualifications: two science GCSEs and a keyboard). I have an interest in science, but no involvement (I do admin work for a charity). I can’t remember how I came across this blog, but it was probably linked to from the Bad Science forum (or similar). I have no idea how you might improve NERC, which perhaps suggests that you’re getting it right already.

  42. Georg Tuppy

    I’m 61 years old cardiologist in a small city-Araçatuba-São Paulo-Brazil, have interest in sciences, neurobiology and some years ago found your blog and read it with very much interest.Your writings are well done and easy to understand. Congratulations. Georg

  43. Biomed undergrad at an Australian university’s Malaysian campus. Born in Mauritius (tropics baby). Blog manager at Nature Education’s Student Voices.

  44. Vicki

    I teach physics to deaf college students at a university in the Northeast. I am appalled, in general, at the poor science literacy that I encounter everyday, and read a variety of science-themed blogs and websites to find interesting, understandable writing to recommend to my students on a range of science topics. I like yours because it covers a lot of ground in a way that a thoughtful reader can grasp.

  45. Richard L

    Swedish student of space physics and engineering – I don’t know how I found your blog but I think I went via Pharyngula to the Bad Astronomer (through some skeptics link) and BA recommended you. But it might also have to do with the name, which I must say is just Awesome! I’m into Astrobiology right know, which is the subject I’ll be working on with my master thesis after the summer. I really like to read the biology-stuff you put on here. Though I never comment (I think), because I don’t feel I understand enough to even make a joke about the subjects, I find the reading quite nice. You’re a great writer! Anyway, thank you for a great blog.

  46. jm

    I’m a grad student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Last year, a professor mentioned your blog as one of his favorites. I wrote it down in the margin of my paper and looked it up that night. Been reading ever since.

  47. Elissa Fazio

    I’m a small business owner in the desert southwest. I never thought I was “good at” science in high school so I got a BA in Art History 36 years ago. Then I became an avid birder and, living in the SW, that means hummingbirds! I started volunteering with a hummingbird research org and became a permitted hummingbird bander 3 years ago. I think I got to your site when you wrote the article about the discovery that the Anna’s hummingbird mating flight sounds are not vocalizations but air moving through tail flares. That got me hooked and like all those commenters before me, I really enjoy reading about the latest research in terms that I, as a lay person, can “get.” I forward your articles regularly and always recommend your blog. Can’t think of anything to improve on what you already do. Thanks so much for all the time and effort.

  48. Professor and cartoonist. Been a sciency guy since birth. Like you, I write about science (and other topics as well) when I’m blogging on my toon site. I’m a photographer as well and like to capture images that illustrate scientific principles and, when the stars align, have them end up as simply beautiful images in their own right.

  49. I’m a 4th year mathematics student in the University of Manchester (UK). I come from Estonia and plan to do phd in an area that is more related to the real “natural” sciences (probably neuroscience). Thanks!

  50. Eric I

    I’m an undergraduate student just finishing my honours degree in psychology and anthropology at the University of Waterloo in Canada. But that being said I have a strong personal interest in biology and evolution. Therefore I gravitate towards the natural science side of psychology (neuroscience, cognition, memory), and the topics of human evolution, physical anthropology, and primatology within anthropology.

    After I graduate I plan to take a year to teach English in Korea to get some life experience. When I get back, I hope to pursue a masters in, most likely, behavioural neuroscience and I might continue on to the PHD level.

    I’ve read your blog for years. Keep up the good work!

  51. I’m a generalist with a bachelors and masters in psychology and an interest in science of all types. I run a one-person communications business — have also exhibited and sold mixed-media art; composed and performed music; and had fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and articles published since the 1970s, mostly in the small press. (I was a finalist for the 1985 John W. Campbell Award, given at Worldcon to the best new science fiction writer of the year, for a novelette that appeared in the Nov. 1984 Asimov’s.) Since moving to Florida I’ve also gotten a kick out of photographing weird-looking bugs.

    I think I found you on Twitter (maybe via Science Pond), prior to Discover picking up NERS. As a layperson I appreciate the way you distill information into articles as accessible and entertaining as they are informative. You’re a fun read — and, like any virtuoso, you make it look easy. Thanks, and Bravo!

  52. I’m the author of the Code for life blog, over at

    As a biologist (an independent computational biology consultant for those who care about these sort of details) with an interest in science communication it wasn’t long before I heard about Ed’s blog — everyone kept saying it was good — and so there I was…

    I don’t come here as often now that I have my own blog to write. (I try write most days, which cuts down on my reading time…) I still like what Ed writes, it’s just I’ve gotten more involved with trying to write my own stuff.

    I started my own ”who are you” thread a few days ago, too :-)


    Rochester, NY State? (I looked at a job there; I’m HoH and know a little BSL (for my own interest; I don’t need it as such).

  53. When I was in college working on my Master’s Degree, I also taught some of the lab courses that went along with Science 101. I was appalled then, as now, at how little “basic” science some adults know, even those with HS diplomas. Things like “what latitude and longitude mean on a map” and “what causes the phases of the moon.”

    Now, I’m an elementary-school science teacher in Texas, still appalled at how little some people understand, but I’m trying to get children hooked on science. Occasionally, I’ll have a kid come in and say things like “My parents thought the moon changes were caused by Earth’s shadow, but I was able to show them how it really works.” SCORE!!!

    I’m very interested in nature, and write a nature blog. I read your blog because of the great variety of topics you write about, as well as the language you use. Most of your articles are written at a level where “regular” people can understand them. Sadly, this isn’t true of many science bloggers. I believe I ran across your page a few months before you moved over here, after searching Google for interesting science blogs.

  54. I’m a long-time reader of NERS – the first post I ever saw, iirc, was the one on hypercarnivorous wolves (, and I was immediately impressed. Not only do you have a knack for making technical concepts accessible (even entertaining), but you do so across a range of biological disciplines and are always on top of what’s cool each week. I especially appreciate your efforts to contact scientists for commentary – doing so adds to the appeal of many posts, and it has made me think about doing the same in the future. You have raised the bar for science blogging, and while I do not wish to precisely duplicate what you are doing here, your writing has inspired me to do my best to improve my own posts, articles, and essays. To put it simply, NERS represents the best example of what science writing on the web can be – on a daily basis, no less. It is no wonder you have won so many awards, Ed, and I wish you, this blog, and your writing continued success.

  55. Michelle

    I’m an embedded software engineer in Vancouver, British Columbia. I found your blog through the Richard Dawkins website from a link to the 3 Quarks Daily science blog contest from 2009 and have been reading ever since. Your blog is a fantastic form of procrastination that helps keep my day a little more interesting and usually leads to interesting conversations.

  56. Brian Too

    I’m a computer guy, specializing in programming and databases. However the work takes me pretty far afield from these touchpoints some days. I ply my trade in medicine although once upon a time it was in local government.

    Science has been with me for as long as I can remember. It is central to the way I understand and relate to the world. I’ve been a Discover subscriber for at least 25 years and I came to the web site in hopes of getting a comprehensive index to the published catalog. Never got that, but I got something maybe even better. A group of interesting blogs!

  57. I’m a 20 year-old university student from Australia doing a dual-degree In Science (Physics/Computer/Math) and Secondary Education. I’m currently a student teacher at a school with a large proportion of ESL students where I teach basic math and reading. I came across one of the Discover blogs a few weeks ago through Google Blog Search and subscribed to all of them with google reader immediately. They are both Interesting and Informative and in my opinion some of the best science blogs on the internet. I also have a blog myself where I talk about all sorts of things but mostly relating to Science, Education and Religion (I’m an Atheist).

  58. David

    I’m a High School Science teacher at an international school in Hong Kong, and found your blog as part of ScienceBlogs, originally. I was originally looking for a convenient way to keep abreast of new science research in general, and for students to get access to generally reliable information about current research, with links to actual research articles, and like the Peer-Reviewed section of ScienceBlogs. When you split away from ScienceBlogs to post on your own I followed you on my BlogLines account.

  59. magetoo

    Off topic:

    Reading through the comments, I realized that a lot of the readers/commenters here seem to be people I wouldn’t mind hanging out with more “normally” (to the extent that such a thing is even possible here on the Intertubes), so if nobody else brings up the idea of having some sort of more free form discussion forum, I will.

    So, um, anyone else interested in getting this crowd together in some form of forum setting? (It could be one that already exists if there is one that fits, of course. I’m guessing that there aren’t that many candidates for a friendly *science* forum though.)

    And yes, I am open to the possibility that it’s really just a horrible idea for reasons I haven’t thought of. :)

  60. david

    I read everyone’s comment and consider them good and more exotic than mine.

    If I tell you these things, what do you know then? Are you qualified to know what it means? Not likely, but possible. We don’t know what we don’t know, in two senses. It could however be a hint for you, so

    I am older than some dirt. My degrees are BA. MA. JD, EdS. However, if I relied on them alone I would be effectively stupid. My work in chronological order has been college English teacher, life insurance salesman, state administrator, private attorney, trial lawyer, night judge, high school chemistry and geology teacher, dealer in books used and rare and French translator. I have been in many clubs and organizations, service and social. A person at large, not supported by an institution, must run strong in those SOB clubs in the U.S. I come from the upper South U.S from a backward part of a backward state. I know the uneducated, the unwashed, the educated too, I see the local and universal.

    I’m thinking I may have socks older than Ed Yong, a few from 1970. But it’s not his fault I keep socks so long.

    I’ve been knocked down and laid up for about six months with heart failure supposedly due to smoking, drinking, and a wild life. Hence, I’ve had time to read blogs tho I would rather have ridden a mule down a canyon. I’m fairly sure I found science blogs through Pharyngula which was discussed on a chat room for rare book dealers. I’ve read all of sci-blgs, at times, plus others, comments included, taking lots of time. The blogs I stick with have spring in their step.

    Now to bloggers not commenters, Mr. Roosevelt in about 1939 said, “There are vast areas of peoples here who have never seen the ocean. I need an incident.” Similarly, there are vast areas of peoples of which science bloggers show no knowledge. Or is it the other way around, the ocean has not seen them? Here is what I think you are looking for: Science bloggers do not know, often, perhaps do not care, for whom they are writing. You should write to a good friend, it will come through. [Sure it’s my opinion, but not all opinions are worth the same. Mine are worth more. : )] If you want a hint about the vast unknown peoples read Mr. Dale Carnegie or Mr. Napoleon Hill, anything by them. Or, to show how historic these vast peoples are, read Mr. Benjamin Franklin’s ‘The Way to Wealth” still a big seller worldwide, and if you wonder if the same is to be found in UK read Mr. Samuel Smiles. Why read? If you saw it in a movie, you’d think perhaps it was a joke.

    And now to commenters, I think we comment to show that by interaction we can say we are alive, perhaps well, at least I for one do and have detected similar.

  61. deang

    I am a middle-aged Texan currently working in arts administration. I have no formal background in science, just a fascination with life sciences that dates back to first learning about dinosaurs and prehistoric life at age six. By age twelve, I could recite every mammalian and avian binomial in North America and knew a lot about anatomy and geology, but I soon learned that I was bad at math and afraid of the corrosive chemicals in labs (I was kind of clumsy) so I didn’t go that direction for a career. I never really went any direction for a career really, working a variety of disparate positions after getting a degree in Rhetoric and Composition.

    I kept up an interest in life sciences over the years, with a particular focus on biogeography, paleontology (especially Cenozoic and Quaternary), botany, anthropology, and evolutionary biology. I’ve worked as a botany writer and done volunteer fieldwork in botany and landscape restoration. For a few years, an administrative glitch resulted in me having full online access to the scientific journals of a former university employer. About the time that administrative error was corrected (around three years ago), I discovered your writing and those of several others on the web and that has helped satisfy my craving for science writing when I’m unable to make it to university libraries.

    Your accessible writing style and ability to hone complex topics down to their essence for a lay audience, without sacrificing precision or complexity, has kept me coming back, as has your occasional writing on issues in the social sciences. Your being English contributes a lot to the quality and content of your writing, I think.

  62. hey ed, i’m grad student/poet in brooklyn. i’ve been working on a project for a few months now, a poetic “link dump” as it were:

    you tend to make regular appearances…

  63. Sam

    I studied the history of science in college. Currently I work on vaccine litigation for the government (I’m a paralegal, though I’ll be going to law school shortly). I find science, particularly biology, fascinating. I try to follow new developments both because I enjoy the sense of wonder I get from reading about it, and because I think there’s more to being an informed citizen than just following politics and world affairs.

    Most science writing I read is so bad it makes me want to scream. Dubious claims are not scrutinized, every new discovery is a “revolution,” etc. Reporting about evo psych is the worst (and much of the actual research there isn’t great either…), but that’s only the tip of the ice berg. You are by far my favorite science writer, and I have been consistently impressed with the quality of writing and research on this blog. You choose interesting stories, you provide great context when you discuss them, and you’re not afraid to critically evaluate the data and claims of tendentious papers. Also, your writing style is a joy to read. Keep up the good work; I plan on following your writing into the indefinite future.

  64. Gary U

    I’m a 46 yr old software developer in Cincinnati, OH (USA). I’ve always had an interest in learning new things, and most recently that “thing” was evolution. I don’t remember which blog I started following first, but I now follow quite a few (h/t to Carl Zimmer @ The Loom, and Phil Plait @ BadAstronomy), and not just evolution related.

  65. Christina

    I’m an autistic trans woman with a strong, but amateur, interest in science. I discovered your blog when it was on Scienceblogs. Probably via one of the sidebar links, but I can’t remember for sure. I’ve always enjoyed your blog. Your writing is very clear, and diverse in its topics.

  66. gillt

    This blog is in the upper ten on my reader. That’s a special place. Oh yes, I’m a biologist and freelance writer.

    Keep up the splendid work!

  67. Noumenon

    I grew up Lutheran in the Midwest, 1480 SAT but didn’t realize you had to do anything more than that. So I ended up making $11-$15 an hour in a plastics factory, ten years now. Blogs match my schooling experience: learning things fascinates me, actually using them is never the point. Also, I really find blogs mindbending, after growing up with people who really have no idea what expertise sounds like. Creationism really sounds equally valid when you don’t realize that there are about four additional levels of detail behind every evolutionist claim.

    Maybe to focus this kind of thread a little more you should try this: have everybody who posts posts some way they are different from other posters, so you get an idea of the breadth of your audience, or sort people by how they are the same, to see the depth. For example, if you had nested comments, you could have all the white males age 25-40 (like me) reply to the first comment, all the retired people to the second comment, all the Americans to the third comment… this would probably be better handled with a checkbox poll.

  68. oooo fun!
    I have a degree in physics from Cal Poly, SLO in California. The choice of major had more to do with a fascination with physics from watching Nova when I was younger than a particular career path. I imagine it also had to do with not feeling satisfied with the answers that religion was giving.
    Currently, I am a software developer for a company in San Francisco but I am working remotely in Shanghai.
    I have no idea now where I found your blog, but I have been reading it for a year or so now. I love the breadth of topics as well as the occasional photo safari – although I suppose I wish the photo safaris had a tiny bit more information along with the pictures. Not necessarily about the subject of the photo, but about the photo itself. I assume you took them, what were you doing in the particular place? If you didn’t take it, where did the photo come from?

  69. RA

    I am an electrical engineer/manager based in India. My parents were teachers (mathematics and biology), and I have always been interested in science. I think I found your blog through TIME magazine and have been visiting for a year or so. I enjoy your writing and the eclectic selection of posts.

  70. The facts about me: born in 1970, In Leiden, the Netherlands. Happily married (15 years last week!) and a lovely daughter. Profession: started out as a librarian, got into IT and now doing all things IT related in a small academic publisher. Oh, and I just finished my second masters degree.

    I enjoy finding out new things, and reading about science is a great fix for that:-) I think I found this blog through, and I’m reading it for more than a year now. Mostly as a nice start for a working day.

  71. Intan Indira

    hi.. i’m from indonesia, love your blog, did a masters degree in neuropsychology, am going to do a phd nxt year altough I secretly want to be a housewife. your blog n tweets are always fun to read, they have opened my eyes to pseudoscientific claims people made and inspire me to speak up against them. i hope you will keep doing this. Cheers.

  72. Hi,
    I am from India and hold engineering degree in ICT and Masters in Business Administration.
    I have a lingering interest in science, psychology, and language and per chance stumbled on this blog via Google Reader and ever since have been subscribed to it.

    A real close to layman kind of descriptions make the visit worth read every time.

    In my limited view, there are other great articles on the net that you could run as a part of weekly round up of interesting articles from the web. As an example, have a look at this – – Using Genetic makeup to explain psychopathic behaviour.
    This series could be timed say on fridays (also this could be positioned as a weekend read for the subscribers, longish articles etc)

  73. Matt

    Urban entomologist working for a pest control company. Compulsive player of board games, card games and the occassional video game. I have a lot of time for data sets and statistics. I get to work with insects for a living as something other than an insect taxonomist. I love the chittering little points.

    I like the range of topics that Ed covers.

  74. C

    Graduate student at Caltech working on energy related stuff. I love science and I come here to learn something new (I always do).

  75. Hi! I’m a 22-year-old ecology and evolutionary biology student in Finland. I’m interested in both making science and writing about it for the public – and not yet sure which one I will do when I grow up. I’m also a collector of tropical plants, an aquarist, an amateur paleoartist, infrequent science blogger and somewhat of a freelance journalist.

    Your blog has been a great inspiration for my own writing, as well as an easy way to keep track of important science news. I can’t remember how I actually found it, but I’ve been a silent reader for quite a while now. You have done a great job, thanks!

  76. I’m a Mechanical Engineering student from Taiwan. Planing to study in the U.S. in the future. I sometimes write blog about education problem and my life in Taiwan. (And recently I wrote my experience as a exchange student in Iowa State University)
    Here is my blog –

    Ed, you are the best science blogger! The world needs more science blogger like you to promote science, so we can make a better world. (And maybe making videos can further reach younger people as well)

  77. ThatPerson

    I’m a 3rd year psychology student in australia, been following your blog for, eh, ages now, no idea how I found you, but I do follow a lot of science blogs so I probably found you off one of them.

    I really to enjoy the mix of old but weird/interesting, and new stuff with a strong, rigorous analysis of it (which is sadly lacking else where). Suffice to say, you’ve managed to rise to the top hierarchy of my RSS feeds.

  78. Jean-Louis

    I am a project officer in the project management office of a R&D institution in Luxembourg. I have an engineering degree since the pre-cambrian or so.

    What I really like in your posts is this little extra slice of skepticism and critical attitude. In particular when you underline what a particular research project results do not mean (I am thinking on your post on the genetic background of crime some time ago “The MAOA Guide to Misusing Genetics”).

  79. Prad

    Hi Ed
    I am an investment banker based our of Kuwait
    You make science simpler and interesting

  80. I’m a senior psychology major at Syracuse University. I found your blog via a link from some other blog several months ago, decided I liked your writing style, and have been reading almost daily since then.

  81. Centfois

    Maths are a mystery to me and the nearest I ever got to a scientific education was failing O-level Physics in 1963. No matter. I probably have a better understanding of the conceptual implications of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity than the vast majority of non-scientists. I know what an exponential curve is; I know the difference between a hypothesis and a theory; and I know that a single rabbit fossil in 100m-year old strata would leave Darwinism dead in the water.

    Aged 63, I’m currently undergoing pre-retirement training—which is to say I’m unemployed, at last! My home has been in Paris for the last 30 years and—even if my passport says I’m still British—I consider myself one of the few true Europeans I know (I speak German too). I’m an amateur photographer and an even more amateur poet. I’ve been a teacher (of French in England, English in Germany, a publican, a storeman, a “handler” (switching tapes on a big old mainframe in prehistoric times when the programmers compiled their test runs from punched cards), and for 20 years I was involved with word-processing and desktop publishing in the Paris office of one of the Big Four Audit groups.

    I only discovered Not Exactly Rocket Science a couple of months ago, thanks to the Guardian’s list of favourite science blogs, and shortly afterwards I was sending the link to my friends with the recommendation, “I find it informative, well-written and rigorous”. Now I probably spend 3-4 hours every week following up links within links until it gets too technical. I like the wide-ranging choice of subjects, the dry humour and the opportunity you give me to get at the facts behind other people’s headlines.

    Much of my reading is made up of popular science books. I think it was Roger Lewin’s Bones of Contention that gave me the bug, unless it was Stu Kaufmann’s Complexity. I lapped up Jay Gould’s 7 Little Piggies—that article about the painstaking piecing together of the taxonomy of fossils from the Burgess Shale ought to be required reading for anyone doing A-levels, whatever their subjects. It reminds me of that sign you see on French motorways—Derrière les panneaux il y a des hommes. Science is not glamorous: for every banner-headlined success story there are a hundred thousand very clever people putting in thousands & thousands of hours of exquisitely careful… er, spade work? Then came Dawkins, Davies, Wilson, Dyson, Barnes and—the Gribbins. John Gribbins’ Quantum Encyclopedia much festooned with little yellow stickers, is one of my bibles. But it must be getting a bit long in the tooth now—can you recommend a worthy successor? In French there are Reeves and Jacquard, and Flamarrion put out a fine little series called Dominos. Hoffstetter, Hawkins and Penrose were too hard; Pinker and Chomsky completely unintelligible. I like Ray Kurzweiler too. He’s obviously a bit of a fruitcake but I think he’s onto something: the next major stage in human evolution (for that’s what it comes down to) must surely be computer enhancement and, beyond that, fully fledged symbiosis.

    I once threw aside in disgust Eric Hobspawm’s no doubt learned history of the 20th century because the language was so curliwigged and the thinking so sloppy that I had to keep backtracking to find out what the hell he was talking about. Popular science books on the other hand have never failed to provide me with remarkably clear, concise and witty writing on ideas which are essentially not easy to grasp. One exception: The Face of God is quite the most specious, superfluous, so-called science book I’ve ever had the misfortune to set eyes on.

    So much for who I am and why I like your site. But, if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to develop the second of those two points in more general terms. This has to do with the inherent nature of science and its over-riding importance. In a sense, only science matters, since only science allows us to “know” and without knowledge there can be no progress. This claim might be disputed by arguing, for example, that the North American Indians, for all their rudimentary technology, “knew” the plains and the mountains by heart, they knew how to cure skins and weave, where and when to plant maize, and they knew when it was time to up sticks (literally) and go elsewhere. But what exactly did they know, and how? Curiously, the English language is ill equipped to deal with the question. Other European languages have two verbs at their disposition, both of which are usually translated by to know despite their meaning different things. In French for instance: Je connais Jean-Paul. Je sais qu’il a acheté une 407 avec le moteur 240 chevaux. Spanish, Italian and German make the same distinction. Savoir has to do with understanding, whereas connaître is more a matter of familiarity. My ex-wife’s use of clutch and gearbox falls into the latter category. I would suggest that the North American Indians were deeply familiar with everything in their environment but they “knew” next to nothing. This is not to say that theirs was not a civilisation worthy of the name: they cared for the young and the old, shared resources, lived in harmony with their environment, made handsome artifacts, etc., filling the gaps where knowledge was missing with faith and ritual. But they weren’t going anywhere. If you were looking for technological and philosophical progress this was neither the time nor the place to be holding your breath.
    Only science proceeds by rigorous experimentation: observing, measuring, weighing, then changing something and observing, measuring, weighing again. Only scientists publish their results in peer-reviewed journals and invite others to copy them. Only science exists to have its own findings proved wrong. Only science is based on a “doctrine” of total fallibility, total honesty.

    But science also provides a framework within which we can say we know that we don’t know, without needing to fill in the gaps with metaphysical ersatz knowledge. A doctoral thesis which does “no more” than prove that a given avenue of research is a dead end is nonetheless good science and, as such, has a valid place in the scheme of things (alas not, as far as I know, in US universities). This is part and parcel of science’s essential modesty, and it far outweighs what some see as the arrogance of its ambitions and its unambiguously asserted knowledge. Unfortunately it’s also what makes science so vulnerable to flat-earthers, religious integrationists, unscrupulous journalists, greedy multi-nationals and various other power groupings of short-sighted, irresponsible fools, ever ready to fill the gaps with duff, white-coated statistics and faith-based gobbledygook. I think it’s fair to say that at no time in the past have so many people known so much, so many people known so little and so many people lacked the tools to learn.

    Sites like yours help those of us who are prepared to share that modesty and those ambitions to keep abreast of events and to form opinions on, for example, the downright stupidity of certain budget cuts.

    More strength to your arm.
    Roger Walker – Paris – July 2010

    PS – How about something on the ballistics of a cricket ball? Now that would be essential science!

  82. Jim

    I am a practicing Christian, no longer a practicing creationist. This blog and others have served as inoculation against that former way of thinking.

    It’s also just fascinating reading. I grew up on Beakman’s World and Bill Nye and read through the Dorling Kindersly (sp?) library early on. I am an avid fan of Mythbusters, Good Eats and still read a lot of non-fiction science, mostly popular. I’m currently still waiting on a friend to get me a publisher’s copy of The Tangled Bank.

    As far as this blog goes, just keep it up. I like the balance of science that makes me read through reference books to understand and science I can understand on first reading.

  83. Centfois

    Whoops… “Hawking” and “Hofstadter”… sorry!

  84. I don’t recall how I found your blog. I started using Twitter quite heavily about a year ago, and I discovered NERS at about the same time, so maybe it was someone like Tom Whyntie who pointed me in the right direction?

    I’m a soon-to-be-ex-mathematician. I passed right through the spectrum, from idolising pure mathematics (when I was an undergraduate) to being wowed by the superstars of superstring theory (during my masters) until eventually settling for an awkward fence-sitting act in an applied mathematics department (for my PhD). I use the tools of pure dynamical systems theory to tackle problems inspired by physics, biology and social science.

    I said ‘soon-to-be-ex’ though. I’m about to leave Cambridge for the gleaming glass towers and sordid morals of quantitative finance. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this! I’m fully intending to stay engaged in the science & science comms communities though, through things like Skeptics in the Pub, TAM and ten23 – and through a constant and heavy use of Twitter, of course.

    P.S. Ed, I see you’ve just started following me on Twitter. Good to have you on board!

  85. I’m a 31yr old cancer survivor currently living in Miami, FL with my wife and three children. I’ve been interested in science for as long as I can remember. I’ve been following this blog for about 4 months now. As for work, I was a miserable telecommunications technician for ten years of my life. Luckily, my wife currently earns descent money, therefore, I resigned from this position and decided to finish my degree in biology. If all goes well I should be done by the end of 2011. I have a wide interest in all fields of science, as a result, I have trouble deciding what I can do once I’m done with my undergrad studies. Thus, I would appreciate any advice from scientist in the biological science fields in these posts. My ideal goal would be to continue my education in grad school. But then again, I have a family and it would be nice to start making money again soon. Any suggestions?

  86. CK

    I’m a 41 year old PhD microbiologist running a Federal laboratory. Thanks to having a younger technician and students, I started reading blogs about two years ago. Found yours 6-8 months ago after seeing a link from Dr. Isis’s blog. Yours is one of the less than 10 blogs I make time to read every day. You make me miss the creative writing I used to do, but also inspire me to be a better writer even on technical journal articles. Your work is exceptional and I’m glad to see from your string of recent awards that it is being recognized as such. Keep it up!

  87. Dionigi

    I am a sixty plus instrumentation engineer. I have been skeptical and science orientated most of my life. I was directed to your website from one of the others I frequent and now you are on my daily read list. As far as I am concerned I read blogs to see what other people think and what interests them. You do not write blogs to pander to other peoples tastes the idea is for you to write what interests you and leave it up to people whether or not they read it. If you start asking people what they want it is not your blog any more. Survival of the fittest determines which blogs are read and which are not rewriting your blog to get more readers is like the childish idea of getting as many friends as possible on your facebook account it is just like collecting trading cards and shows a shallow person. Keep up what you are doing and people who want to read it will.

  88. Ken K

    I’m a science writer who got started in a media relations office for a university and never got out into the realm of actual journalism. I mixed an undergrad degree in aerospace engineering with a masters in journalism and have written for Ohio State, Indiana, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the University of Idaho and now the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State.

    I started reading your blog while doing research on successful blogs (after a few rather dismal attempts of my own) in hopes of creating one for my current employer or perhaps a larger one spanning the realm of nuclear physics. I’ve stopped reading most of them since I just don’t have the time, but yours is one of the few I still read every day.

    I read because I enjoy it but also because you must read good writing in order to be a good writer. I’m hoping you’ll rub off on me. I love that you interact with your readers so much, and in a quick and sincere fashion. I enjoy the slight detours into discussions on what constitutes *good* research as well as *good* science writing.

    Keep up the good work. And if you have any clue how to make rare isotope research interesting to a general audience, let me know.

  89. TGAP Dad

    ‘m a software developer in my 40’s – for now – and have lived in the great state of Michigan my whole life. I work primarily on mainframe systems (soon to change) for a public university. I have been interested in science my whole life, and I seem to have passed that on to TGAP kids – #1 daughter is an astrophysics major at a major university, and my son will be entering college as an engineering major.
    Other than having a nominally scientific degree (computer science) my interest is strictly fan-boy. I’m also a fan of James Randi, Dr. Stephen Barrett, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan. I am also an unapologetic (but soft-spoken) atheist, and a fan of Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and to a lesser extent, Christopher Hitchens. I am an unabashed liberal and think it’s about time we inverted the social security tax exemption, and only levy the tax on annual income over $90 thousand. I think it’s about time this country provided health care and higher education for all its citizens. I am a foot soldier in the war against pseudoscience
    and try to “educate” people whenever I encounter an uninformed party.
    I’ve been a Pharyngula reader for about 4 years. One of my favorite features is “pointless polls.” I like the Monday metazoan, Friday cephalopod, and any posts about science, atheism, Republican stupidity, pseudoscience and quackery.
    I also like non-conformity, and have a clock in my office which runs and reads counter-clockwise.

  90. SimonG

    I’m an Enlishman, rapidly approaching my half-century. I may occasionally claim to be Welsh, Irish or West Indian if it’ll irritate or confuse people, (although two of those are stretching things a bit).
    I’ve had an interest in science as long as I can remember and eventually went to University to study biochemistry but dropped out. After a brief interlude as a lab technician, and various temporary office work I moved into IT. Did OK at that, although I’m currently out of work. :-(
    I found NERS whilst browsing around ScienceBlogs and soon made it one of my regular reads. I like where the articles are pitched: enough depth to be interesting and informative without being over my head.

  91. Ah, the ‘who am I’ and ‘what do I do’ question I tend to dread because I never have a cohesive answer… (the ‘why I read this blog’ part is easy though—I discovered it via Twitter a few mths ago and read it because it is GOOD, and because I am a science groupie and reading science blogs is part of what I do).

    Oh, to have an all-defining title! I am a human. That is about as specific as I can get. I suppose I could go as far as to say I am a female human, but really I’m not sure the female part is informative in any way.

    I guess if you were to get me drunk (wouldn’t take long… maybe 2.5 beers) I would slur that under different circumstances I may have ended up as a science journalist/writer, or something along those lines. Or failing that, maybe I would have enjoyed just *hanging out* with such people and be jealous of what they do… (or read their blogs?) I like to believe my social anxiety as a kid, heck as an adult too, crippling self-doubt, challenges in math and intimidating math and science teachers, along with no exposure at all to anyone in a ‘science’ related career, save the scary aforementioned teacher, made the idea of my pursuing a science related career sort of remote… It just wasn’t on the radar… which is a shame because as a kid I think there was evidence of strong interest—I used to bring home stacks of reference books from the library (remember the library?) on medicine/psychology/neuroscience/criminology/immunology… I thought I was “weird” for having these interests… say vs. sports or pop culture… my parents, I believe, simply thought I was a hypochondriac (which I guess I sort of am sometimes, but I also just have a bona fide interest in medicine and physiology that plays a big part in my extensive research on health subjects… honest, it is not just that I feel it is possible I have acromegaly or scleroderma… those diseases honestly fascinate me… and horrify me… and interest me endlessly… and don’t get me started on schizophrenia–I can read about prodomal symptoms for hours on end… )

    Anyway, since I had crappy marks in math/science it was suggested I go into a business program for post secondary (apparently business is where people with crappy math/science grades go…) I did and then the next 14 years are too boring to talk about… but lately I am reconnecting with my old interests… doing a different undergrad program… reading stacks of reference books again… playing with the idea of writing speculative fiction, creative non fiction… in short (mahahahahaha) looking for ways to look up stuff and write about it for a living… or at least just blogging about stuff…

    I’ve just written a full-length biography…
    “I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.” — BlaisePascal

  92. I’m a science writer/public information officer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. I got my undergrad degree in biochem and did bench science for a number of years before going back to school for a master’s in sci writing. Compared to doing science, I love writing about it because I get to meet scientists and learn about research projects across a wide variety of disciplines–food sci, nutrition, biochem, genetics, microbio, plant pathology, agronomy, etc. I’ve got a big playground!

    I’ve been reading your blog for about 6 months now. You’re a fantastic writer, and I follow your blog, in part, to study your prose.

  93. I’m 27, a biologist wannabe, a Biology bachelor, currently working on my International Nature Conservation master. Also an animalist and book-illustrator. Russian.
    I don’t remember how I found the blog, probably from another science blog. Have been reading it for a year or more.
    I come to read the articles about zoology mostly. Surfving scientific blogs I keep my hand on pulse.

  94. Joe

    I am a molecular biology Ph.D. student at UT- Austin. I study RNA, and while the actual subject matter is more detailed, only small facets of it qualify as “interesting”. I have always been a fan of spouting science off to the pub-lick, or as I call it, “talking nerdy to ya”. I have tinkered with a personal blog outlet for my science writing interest, but I run into two roadblocks: My desire to graduate one day and my need to do whatever I do WELL, so I am not willing to half-ass it. Note: My lack of publication in the science world is making my publication in the internet world more and more likely by the day.

    I am (mildly) proud to admit that I have one of the most recommended science-related Tumblr pages out there. It’s not in-depth analysis or anything, but more like simple links to current research with pretty pictures, and more pretty pictures and videos in the middle. Think “science porn”. Of course, being popular on Tumblr means that 30-40 teenagers click your page a week, so ego is still in check. It’s nice to show a new audience some of the interesting work happening, and sometimes interpreting it in an artistic way.

    I found your blog through the Science Online awards, then Twitter and so on . . . I enjoy your analysis and your ability to stay so on top of things while (allegedly) having a real job. I think your likely influx of press releases gives you a little head start on the majority of the growing horde of science bloggers, but that’s ok because winners always win, and everyone needs their secrets. I also enjoy that you are mildly snarky at times and, if I may be so bold, you have no problem with self-promotion, touting your awards or how popular your blog is, which is simultaneously endearing and irritating. Those two words are certainly part of the success of any great blog . . .

    Keep it up!

  95. I’m interested in science, almost all of it, as an amateur. I was born in London almost 60 years ago. I did a first degree in Chemistry followed by a Masters and a PhD in Chemical Spectroscopy, which took me into corners of all the Natural Sciences. But then I fled academe due to the lack of permanent jobs and spent my working life in IT. I have recently taken early retirement from a job as a senior IT project manager. Nevertheless I retain an all-round interest in science and natural history which I follow through New Scientist, Scientific American, Discover and other blogs — but of course as an amateur I can pick and choose to read whatever grabs my interest. On my blog I also cover anything which takes my interest, especially given my self-selected role as a practising catalyst, quietly enabling others to develop by providing different philosophies and views of the world.

  96. My name is Zachary Miller, and I’m a paleontology addict. I live in Anchorage, AK, and have a largely worthless English degree. For work, I track contract documents for a construction company. It’s enjoyable work. As you probably know, I’m all about dinosaurs and many other extinct organisms. I enjoy research, drawing, and gaming. Sometimes, when I have the funds, I attend SVP. I’ve done this twice. I also try to go to E3, though I’ve only accomplished that once.

    I write for not only my blog, but also Nintendo World Report. I’ve presented work in a few art shows around town, and, with my friends Scott Eyard and Raven Amos, actually hosted a few. I podcast sometimes, not just Dinorama (with its questionably monthly schedule), but also the NWR Newscast (biweekly), and sometimes I’ve a guest host on Radio Free Nintedo and Radio Trivia Podcast.

    Good times.

  97. Rex

    I’m retired now, age 65. From 1968 through 2001 I was in the software development industry in several capacities. Most of my career was as a software engineer specializing in high reliability systems, software development process, kernel level and middleware level cross platform software.

    I had been interested in science and math in secondary school and my classes reflected that interest. Alas, … long story …, I never made it through secondary school. In my late teens I “Got It” and managed to get a GED, some level of college level math and lower division science then bumbled my way into a computer programmer trainee program at a big company. Beyond that, my education was science focused but without benefit of a formal college structure. — Today, the landscape is very different. The industry as evolved from art to science and engineering. I had to invent my own “courses” along the way to pick up topics in math and computer science that evolved while I was busy making a living. It was a good ride.

    In retirement I am working on a book and an open source application to “scratch the itch”.

    I got here [your blog] by virtue of a reference on Pharyngula, PZ Myers blog.

  98. Labrat

    I’m in quality control, in the Malaysian pharmaceutical industry, and am pleasantly surprised that there’s another fan from Malaysia. Giler best, 2nd commenter!

    This is the only science blog I read. Just like everyone before me has said, Ed, the quality of your writing is exceptional.

    You explain the most esoteric research with unbelievable clarity, making it simple enough for normal folk like me to understand. How did you learn to write this well?

    Anyway, give us shoutout if you ever make your way here – I guarantee we’ll stuff you to the gills with the best food in KL..

  99. Restless psychologist.

  100. Noumenon

    I’m shocked by how many scientists are on this list, compared to computer programmers, who usually dominate everything.

  101. Jaban

    Until a few years ago, I was a fundamentalist Christian preacher who rejected all sorts of science based on religious dogma. It was blogs like yours that got me thinking about how we discover and explain things, and turned me on to science and the methods thereof. There’s more to it than that, of course, but your blog was part of the process.

    I subscribe to your feed because I find most of the articles you write interesting, and they’re presented in a light, excited-about-science manner. You write in a way that is easy to understand for those of us who don’t know anything about the subject at hand, but you don’t write as if we’re all on the general level of a five-year-old. I like that.

    I hope more journalists begin to take your articles as an example of how to maintain a high level of interest and excitement while presenting their information openly and honestly, without coloring it with an agenda.

    (I’m not a preacher anymore, by the way. I’m a computer technician, trying to save up money for university. I’ve always loved particle physics, and plan to make a career of it.)

  102. Smarter

    I am an environmental consultant in Seattle. After getting my master’s degree and starting this job, I missed science. I don’t get to do any science, or learn much anymore, so reading your blog gives me hope. It is also an inspiration to start writing more myself. Thanks for reaching us “scientists” who don’t get as involved in science as we would like.

  103. Asp

    I live in Croatia where, at the moment, I’m working as a freelance translator and finishing my thesis to get a BA in English Language and Comparative Literature. I love science, but I have very little scientific knowledge. When I was a kid I was fascinated with space and wanted to be an astrophysicist, but a war happened in Croatia and my life was affected in way that took me on another path. But even though I didn’t end up pursuing any kind of degree in science, I still have that love for science and scientific knowledge, so I read popular science books and blogs like yours, because they present science in a very readable and understandable way even to people like me who have a lot of interest although not necessarily much knowledge. =)

  104. Dirk

    I am a 43 year old information manager from The Netherlands with a masters degree in Aerospace Technology. Recently re-discovered my interest in science and found interesting blogs on discover. I found your blog via Phil Plait’s “Bad Astronomy”, and I’m very impressed with its quality.

  105. Wooooooo

    I’m a 20 year old student Georgia State University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy. My main interest in ‘hard’ science lies in Physics and Astronomy.
    I found your blog a little less than a year ago while browsing for nerdy things to read. Easily one of my favorite finds, along with Bad Astronomy.
    Thanks for all the productive procrastination!

  106. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months, but can’t remember how I stumbled across it. I was a biology major in college, but fled the research world to develop a permaculture system on my homestead. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying staying up to date with happenings in the scientific world through your posts, and flexing those science thoughts that haven’t seen too much hard work lately.

  107. DB

    It’s quite intimidating to post after all these real scientists but I will give it a shot.

    I am 31 I own a small electrical company and used to work at it, until about a year and a half ago when my daughter started preschool and my wife decided she wanted to go back to work (she is a psychiatric nurse). So now I basically just admin my company which consists of a bit of paperwork and a few phone calls, the rest of the day I am Mr. Mom.

    I started following your blog around the same time I became a stay at home dad, can`t remember how I found it but I am very glad I did. It really inspired an interest in the wider world of science that I never had before, I always liked nature documentaries and things of that type, fossils etc. Superficial things I thought were cool but never really bothered to look any deeper until I found this and a couple other science blogs. Nowadays educating myself about science is my number one hobby I really discovered a passion for it through others who are passionate about it. I read most of the comment threads on your site but rarely say anything myself because I am usually just not well versed enough to have anything substantial to add, so I am and plan to remain a dedicated lurker.

  108. Casey

    I can’t remember for the life of me how I found this blog, but I’ve been reading it regularly for a couple of years. I have my undergrad degree in geology and I’m working on my masters in secondary education in biology. I’ve been a teacher at a private school for going on 10 years where I teach Earth science and biology and this blog has been invaluable to me for material for lecture. The biggest battle as a science teacher is to get kids interested in science and much more often than not, your material has piqued a ton of interest from my students (and me!). Keep up the good work and I’ll continue to be a loyal reader.
    On another note, my father-in-law got me a subscription to Science News – didn’t have the heart to tell him that you wind up scooping the print medium 9 times out of 10.

  109. I’m a research officer in a research institute in Singapore and a part-time grad student, struggling to complete my masters in Env Sci. I’ve been reading your blog since I discovered it on ScienceBlogs. I love the wit, the writing style and the citations provided, giving me a good idea on how to write if/when I decide to switch from random blogging to real science blogging.

  110. I’m a 3rd year undergraduate at the University of Michigan. I’m a neuroscience major but think everything is interesting.
    I found your blog through the blogroll at my brother’s blog ( and stuck around because you frequently write consistently interesting, well-written posts about a variety of subject matter. It never gets boring. Every time I go online I eagerly check your blog to see if you’ve found another cool thing for me to learn about. I’m really impressed by pretty much everything about your blog.
    It would be cool if you wrote a bit more about biotechnology and engineering, but I very much understand that you write about what you want to because you want to, and I don’t want the blog to suffer because you start writing about things you’re not as interested or informed about.
    So, good work! I’ll keep reading.

  111. Eve

    I’m an assistant professor of botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    I *think* I first learned of your blog when it was linked from another blog that I read regularly, the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog:

    I appreciate how challenging it is to translate science from jargon to accessible everyday English and make it interesting as well. I keep trying to improve my ability to do this, so you are a great example to follow.

  112. Karen

    I confess, I started reading this blog after I clicked on a Facebook link to the duck sex item :-) I’ve always enjoyed science but never worked in the field, I’m currently in the process of retraining as a computer programmer. I’m particularly interested in anthropology and evolution.

    Love your work, thanks for everything :-)

  113. My, you’re a fascinating bunch. Thank you to everyone who has taken to time to write something here. I don’t have time to respond to all the comments but I guarantee you I read every single one. A couple of things that strike me:

    – You’re very diverse. Plenty of working scientists sure, but also lots of people who left their science backgrounds behind long ago, and even a few who weren’t interested in science at all until quite recently.

    – Everyone’s part of the “general public” to some extent. Science communicators like to bandy that term around but it’s not very meaningful, is it? A professor in one field of science might as well be a layperson in another.

    – Hearing stories of people having to abandon an initial interest in science because of lack of educational opportunities, social pressures or, yes, even war, makes it clear the enormous privilege I’ve enjoyed in getting to where I am now. Also makes me resolved not to waste that.

    Cheers folks – keep ’em coming. This thread is an absolute joy.

  114. April Brown

    Acupuncturist by education, but housewife/mother for the moment, somewhat isolated from the world by rows and rows of razor wire, language barriers, and various restrictions of the ‘official’ variety. (Husband in the foreign service, and we’re living in a place where our embassy requires legions of guys with machine guns, gun turrets, and crazy medieval looking fortifications.)

    As it turns out, being dyslexic really puts a damper on biochemistry and physics (chirality, R and L proteins, magnetic currents spinning in certain directions… eek!) so my hopes of being a doctor were washed out by poor science grades in undergraduate school. Crippling student loans sidetracked me into working at Microsoft after I got my master’s instead of opening a practice. While it turns out that herding technology cats comes naturally to me, I’d really love to take another crack at the acupunture thing. Not as a practitioner so much as a translator of acupuncture into terms that can be studied and evaluated, western style. It drives me crazy that the skeptical crowds lumps acupuncture in with things like homeopathy, yet they have every right to, because the nature of the beast is that all the data is correlational.

    I get started writing on this issue sometimes, then my baby interrupts me, so my mental exercise these days is confined to reading science blogs on the rare occasion that the housework is done and the baby is napping.

  115. Simon

    I’m in my 30s, work in fundraising at Cancer Research UK, which is where I came across your blog (probably via Kat Arney). Though I was good at maths, I always hated science at school – I could just about cope with physics but biology and chemistry were completely closed books to me. Somewhere in my early 20s I came across the peerless Steven Jay Gould and a whole new world opened up to me. Now, when I go to the “popular science” section in my local bookshop, it’s a struggle to find much I haven’t read. I lap it all up, from the most esoteric details of string theory to the evolution of canaries. Absolutely no plans or interest in taking up science as a career, though I’m delighted to be working for an organisation where science is at the heart of what it does. What I really love about your blog is the continual sense of wonder – that instinct that says, “Wow, isn’t this cool!?”

  116. Mattias Löf

    I’m a third year law student from Sweden. I studied alot of math and science in high school/college (slightly different school system here) but chose a different path once I got to university. I wonder sometimes if I should’ve stayed in science but truth be told I was very poor at math and I do enjoy my current occupation very much as well. I found your blog through an article somewhere that listed the authors 5 favourite blogs. Unfortunately I can’t remember who or where it was at the moment. I read scientific blogs and literature because everytime I do, I start giggling with fascination and excitement. I absolutely love learning more about the world we live in. Of course, having no scientific training, there’s a limit to what I can grasp but with great communicators it seems that the gap is always somewhat abridged. You’re one such communicator and I’m very grateful that there are people like you to share this wealth of knowledge with the rest of us. Thank you!

  117. I’m a fledgling science writer/public information officer who leaped off the research bench after getting a PhD in Immunology. I loved my doctoral research on understanding why so many of us get a more severe form of dengue fever after a secondary infection, but focusing on minute details of the same project for five years left me feeling a bit stifled. Realizing that working this way for the rest of my working life carried a significant risk of intellectual suffocation, I chose my current career for the same reasons most people leave bench science for jobs like mine — the diversity of subject matter, the chance to flex those creative muscles and the quick turnaround on projects.
    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now and have thoroughly enjoyed your scientifically accurate yet imaginatively written and sensorially engaging posts :)
    I attribute my motivation to start my own mostly-science blog to you and Carl Zimmer, and a few other writer-scientists.

  118. phil

    I’m a french student in physics. I’ve been following this blog for 7-8 months. I discovered it via the blog pharyngula I think.

  119. First started reading your blog (before it moved here) when I was writing up my PhD in cell biology. After graduating, my love of science, technology, and science communication led me to join a start-up making online educational games about biology, as opposed to my originally planned (and almost executed!) post-doc route… I keep coming back to your blog because it’s well written, engaging, and reminds me how much awesome science is being done!

  120. Hi Ed-
    I am an artist – fine arts and illustration mostly. I find science a fantastic resource for inspiration – always more than what one expects. I aspire to make art that inspires curiosity or that at least might make someone pause for a moment and consider the world she inhabits. Much of my work relates to the way we perceive other people, places, and things to shape our belief systems.

    I have a BA in philosophy because it was the only program I could complete taking evening and night classes paid for by a full-time day job. Believe it or not, that training helps me more deeply appreciate your blog because of both the careful analyses and generally very good writing. It also gives me the broad synopsis of many things letting me pick and choose those that trigger some creative spark without needing to plow through the all the original material myself.

    I came across your blog from Jonah Lehrer’s blog The Frontal Cortex which I found while doing some research for a philosophy of mind class. I fairly regularly read several science bloggers, although only yours and Jonah’s have merited the status of being bookmarked on the browser bar. I also love the photos very much that you post.

  121. Laurie Mack

    I’m a PhD student in Animal Sciences. Your blog is a wonderfully fun way to enrich my knowledge. I love the variety.

  122. Barbara Hayes

    I’m an engineer, who needs to speak in impromptu situations, usually to relatively small groups, although sometimes they’re important groups. I am looking for tips on developing my voice as a woman in a situation where I’m frequently the only woman in the room. I came across your blog while researching a project for Toastmasters.

  123. Jake

    I’m a grad student in statistical genetics at WashU in St. Louis. I like reading about nearly any kind of science, especially given that it has passed the Ed Yong Interestingness filter and is presented with Ed Yong Clarity. So, thanks! There’s way too much science out there to read, of course, and I’ve mostly focused on your blog (including its previous incarnations), neurophilosophy (I was in a neuro program before stat gen), and pharyngula (I’m a raging atheist).

    I’m interested in science communication. This includes between scientists (where maybe there are some issues with the current journal system…), to lay people (blogging, Malcom Gladwell type popularized-science, community outreach science programs, etc.), and down the road I’m interested personally in being a science policy advisor to legislators. Besides the content itself, I read this blog as an example (typically a good one) of ways to communicate science.

  124. Irmgard

    Hi Ed,
    This is a big leap for me, never posted anything on the web, and not being on facebock and never used twitter makes me a real fossil, right? But as I enjoy your writing so much and regularly read your posts since 2007, it’s just fair to reply your “Who are you?” thread.
    I know exactly when I landed the first time on your website – you wrote about my article of bats and that, as adults, they do not have new neurons in their brains. The more I visited your website, the more I felt honored to have made it on it! Your writing is an eye-opener for me, how science can be digested and presented in a very elaborate way, inspiring interest for other scientific fields without simplifying the facts. In particular I like your way of connecting facts and knowledge on such a broad scale that truly new insight turn up!
    I’m a neurobiologist most interested in comparative work. Seeing that you considered the bat-story worthwhile to talk about was very encouraging, as working on exotic species in a field where most researchers use laboratory rodents is sometimes exhausting.
    Please keep up doing your wonderful work Ed!
    PS: I’m not a ‘he’ 

  125. Lyn M.

    This is really interesting, to see who else reads this blog. I am a licensed lawyer, but do not practice anymore. I switched to teaching after a heart attack. I have always been interested in science, but got diverted to law.
    I like the blog a lot because it is varied but always clearly written. I have no insights that others have not already covered, so I will sign off with one last remark. Please keep it up, Ed, as your pieces are well worth reading and most enjoyable.

  126. Eleanor

    Hi Ed,
    I’m a post-doc working on evolutionary biology (sort of). Like some of the other people on here, I think I may shortly make my exit from academia, as I’d quite like a permanent job and be able to stay in one place for more than two years. But if/ when I do, it will feel like a bit of a failure. I initially read your (and a few other) blog as a reward for trawling through the recent issues of journals relevant to my field, but am reading the journals less and less… I particularly like the breadth of topics I find here, and the posts often rekindle a dormant interest I had in a subject half remembered.

  127. jspears

    I am a library assistant at a small library in Manhattan. I found this blog through the New York Times. I love how often the blog updates and the level of detail. As a science novice I appreciate being able to read these articles without feeling like an idiot.

  128. Casey

    I’m a 25 year old who was priced out of my education recently. I was never a scientist, I was a policy debater on my Universities policy debate team and I’ve always had a huge attraction to argumentation and the need for evidence in order to be able to make strong claims. I was/am gradually working on a bachelors in both government and communications.

    I’ve always been absolutely amazed by nature and repulsed by religion, and the best support for and against those things, each exclusively, is science. Science was never for me as a discipline goes, but one of my biggest interests is in the way humans view and interact with elements of science, and how equipped your average person is to interpret any scientific information with the set of tools our society deems necessary in the realm of education.

    The more vile and obtuse the politics in the U.S. gets the more I rely on science to act as a barometer. Like for example, the competition of PR and actual science in the gulf currently interests me quite a lot. I think I’m one of the few non-science based people who reads a lot of different science related blogs, and this is one of my favorites when I get around to it.

    I heard about this blog originally through both a fark link and a reference to it in a comment at another science blog. Thanks for doing what you do.

  129. I’m an octogenarian former Of-off Broadway playwright and director (New Dramatists alum) who has been a science buff all my life A Phd Great Aunt sent me stacks of “This Curious World” panels she saved out of the Sunday Funnies when I was a tyke of an Iowa farm kid back during the Depression (before the current one). Too bone-lazy and easily bored to actually become a scientist; being a buff lets me eavesdrop on the wonder and excitement without the discipline and drudgery. Found you just a few days agv and appreciate your eclectic interests and pretty good writing. Approachinsg the end of my Cycle I have evolved into an entry-level philosopher (hence the punny handle). Check out if you have a half-hour with nothing better to do.

  130. Claire

    I’m a fifteen-year-old student from Singapore and I just found your blog through reddit. (: I really enjoy that you use British English (of course, since you are British, after all), but that’s not what your blog is about — it’s about illuminating science and making it accessible, and even appealing, to people like me with the use of understandable language and by covering such a variety of topics. Your posts are so interesting and well-written, and I’m definitely going to be a returning visitor. I also think that I might introduce your blog to my Biology teacher, because it’s just so full of relevant and worldly articles and I’m sure he’d love to share it with his classes (though their level of interest might be questionable)!

  131. Q.F

    I’m in French Foreign Legion, and I’ve always been a science enthusiast, though obviously, I didn’t make it my job.
    But I’m very curious and I still read a lot about it and try to keep updated. I’m also fascinated by nature and my work makes me able to observe it quite often.

    When I’ve found your blog by luck some weeks ago, I’ve spent the entire night reading and following the links at the end of each article, until the “reveil” call brought me back in the reality.
    I find your blog very easy to read and understand even when the subject is complex, whereas my mother tongue isn’t English.

    Thank you for you work.

  132. IP

    I work as research assistant in computer science related field, relatively settled after having lived in several countries for several years. I guess I came across first time your blog by a link from Neurophilosophy, maybe 2 years ago. I try to read your entries daily, at least during the working days from office :)
    What I like about it are the variety of subjects and accessibility of the language. I recommended it to others, too, and I even found things to share with my 7 years old son who listens with open mouth…best prize for a blog, I guess…
    Good work, keep on!

  133. jdmimic

    I’m Joe and I teach anatomy in Arkansas’s one and only medical school. I am also, as far as I know, Arkansas’s only currently employed paleontologist (sadly, my state is woefully bereft of dinosaurs with the exception of one sad little foot).
    I came across your blog several months ago. I really like the diversity of science topics you cover, although I have a special interest in the paleo and evolutionary biology topics. I also like the perception research you post. Those are fascinating.
    I think the pocket posts are a great way to include more material, so long as you keep doing the longer, in depth posts like you are doing. Basically, I think your blog is just fine the way it is.

  134. Laura

    I am a product design engineer at Apple, working on laptops. I started my career in aerospace/defense, but decided to get out when I realized that the industry probably wouldn’t fare as well after Bush left office (and I was right, both of my previous programs were canceled!) But my interest in science doesn’t really have anything to do with my choice of careers.

    I’ve always had an interest in psychology, biology, physics, astronomy, etc, mostly at the level of an educated layman. I just think the world and humans are so strange and fascinating and I love to read about the research that’s been going on. I love your blog because it distills scientific research down to the main points and offers intelligent criticism of their hypotheses, conclusions, and methods. I started reading it about a year ago, when my sister sent me a link. (She’s also fascinated by the weird and wonderful things that we’re discovering about the world.)

  135. Lee C

    I started school in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Nebraska near the Agate Springs Fossil Quarries. College studies were in chemistry and microbiology, environmental health, exercise physiology and human nutrition. Anything having to do with science has been interesting to me all my life – watching ants, astronomy, botany, birdwatching, archaeology, anthropology, geology, paleontology. Before my children were born, and to put them through college, I worked as a laboratory technician. When my children were finished with college, I went back to volunteering and reading widely in science books and on the Web. I found this blog when I saw a picture taken at the recent pterosaur exhibit in London, Ed Yong with Darren Naish of “Tetrapod Zoology” and clicked on the link to this blog.

  136. May

    I’m a currently unemployed writer, artist and woman with Asperger’s Syndrome. My degrees are in Creative Writing and Museums.

    I’ve always been a nature lover and eager learner, so science has been a natural extension of those interests. Science fuels my wonder at the natural world around us.

    As a person with AS, I love that you cut out the jargon as much as possible. That is a barrier for me in doing much scientific research on my own. Not that I need to do any research, per se, I just like reading about things that interest me. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now I think. Several of my own blog posts are about things I learned here.

  137. Ahoy there, I be Captain Skellett. I’ve been reading for a year and a half, and I write my own blog, A Schooner of Science. I’m also studying Science Communication in Australia, have a BSc in Chem and Biochem and I’m a fledgling freelance writer to boot. But mostly I’m a pirate.

  138. fitzliness

    I’m a relative newcomer. I came here via Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science.
    I work as a prosthetist in Cumbria, England.
    Sites like yours remind me what a wonderful place the net can be.

  139. Helen C

    I am… apparently one of the youngest of your readers.. I’ve just finished my GCSE’s (the exams taken at 16 – the end of compulsory ed) but despite my age have always been interested in science, and because of my older brothers, especially the geekier older one (Seriously, its just entertaining) have always been somewhat cynical..
    I started reading this about 5 months ago when I became to ill to go to school ( constantly fainting, migraines, mild paralysis – lovely time believe me..) so I spent most of my time in bed either curled up mildly dying, or on my brother’s netbook, and he’d left this up by accident, so I started reading. :)
    I’m doing my A levels next year in Chemistry, Physics, Biology and History before hopefully studying medicine, and then going on to specialise in neurology… but this is only a guess which will probably change soon, I’ve got time before I have to decide :)

  140. I’m an incoming freshman studying to be a pharmacist at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

    I first found your blog browsing through Seed a few years ago, looking for articles to write up for my environmental science (and later, for my bio and chem classes). Thanks for introducing me to the DOI system, it’s been a lifesaver!

  141. Michael N

    Hi, I’m an undergraduate in my final year of Dentistry at the University of Queensland, Australia. I only realised that I’ve always had a great interest in science a few years ago after reading Bill Bryson’s “A Brief History of Nearly Everything”, and now like to keep updated in the field with your blog among others on the internet. I am particularly interested in physics, but my science education is limited to only a few university science subjects I did in my first year, which were prerequisite for Dentistry.

    I found this blog from a recent Guardian article listing some of the “hottest science blogs” on the web, and am now an avid reader. Your writing skill is marvelous and I am very grateful for what you’re doing, thanks a bunch!

  142. I tried, I really, really tried to keep reading… Just to find anybody–anybody–form
    my country. On 30th reply, I almost gave up. But I kept reading. Then my heart jump,
    on the halfway to comment #141, I found Intan from Indonesia.

    Well, I’am a Math graduate from ITB Indonesia. Still 0n my 25th age. A blooger,
    an avid reader, have a great interest in science generally, including neuroscience,
    behavioral psychology, and trying to master as many foreign language as I can
    (learning French now ^^).

    Knew your blog from, when doing some psychological internet-research
    (if you can call that ‘a research’) for an article I wrote on local website. I read the link on
    “How The Things We Touch Affects Our Judgments and Decisions”. Soo, here I am! And it’s
    about a week ago I guess. So I’m a newbie reader of your blog.

    It’s great to learn from this blog, Ed. Thank you.

  143. I am Engineer/Manager working in a finance company in India. I am fascinated by science, specially astronomy and evolutionery biology and like watching Discovery/Geographic channels. Found your blog through an article of yours (can’t recollect the source) and have been following for last 3 months via Google Reader.

  144. Jim B

    I’m a retired computational physicist in Maryland. This blog is broadening for me, informative as well as entertaining.

  145. Who am I? 46 year old academic economist
    How did I first come here and when? Probably a couple of years ago through some now forgotten link
    Why do I come here? To read a proper explanation of the research I read about in the freesheet on the way into work. To have my eyes opened to other research that should have been covered in the newspapers but wasn’t. To enjoy your engaging style. To wistfully reflect on alternative academic avenues not taken.

  146. Aurora

    I’m the press officer at an international research institution focused on molecular biology, and discovered NERS when you won this year’s Research Blogging Awards. I subscribed to your RSS feed shortly after, and have been trying to catch up with a backlog of amazing posts ever since!

    Why? Mainly because I love the way your posts say ‘This is so cool I had to tell people about it!”. I wish I’d known about your blog when I was working in Lisbon Zoo’s education department – I’d have loved to tell the kids some of the stuff I’ve learned here.

    I like how you understand blogging, and also have to thank you: I’ve discovered a number of other interesting blogs through your Saturday links and by following you on Twitter. I appreciate the in-depth pieces, but the Pocket Science series has the advantage that I can read an entry from end to end in one sitting, instead of having to stop and actually do some work in between, or save it for when I get home…

    Oh, and I too am in awe that you manage to do all this on top of a full-time job… Congratulations, and do keep it up!

  147. F!tz

    i am a 126 year-old 7ft tall alien-monkey hybrid from the planet Zolar. I enjoy hunting and fishing. I work as a ‘mind-@#$’er (no translation possible) . I love your planet’s ‘old spice man’. I would love to visit your small planet one day and learn this instrument that you call “Science”. I read your blog to laugh at your puny earthling brains…. mwaaaahh mwaaah. It gives me amusement and erotic satisfaction.

    cheers, and keep up the good work.

  148. Lina

    I’m a student who’s just finished high school and going to the University of Waterloo for Chemistry. I found this blog as a link from another blog (sorry, can’t remember the name) who listed it as a favourite along with other blogs that I regularly check up on. I’ve been reading this blog for about a year and I love your sense of humor and wit. It along with the interesting variety of subjects you write about definitely makes me appreciate science alot more. Thank you!

  149. Erik

    I’m a bioinformatics researcher (got my PhD in 2007). Found the blog after you wrote about an article of which I’m a co-author, looked around a bit and decided I really liked it. Cheers.

  150. I’m a graphic designer and writer, and I want to contribute more to science communication. I write a blog about dinosaurs, and I read your blog because you are really good at writing about science, cover a great breadth of material, and have great insight into how the internet is changing how science is communicated.

  151. By day I am a legal assistant and by night I am a student at Western Governor’s University working toward a bachelor degree in elementary eduction. I am married to a microbiologist who is the best science tutor a girl could ask for. I am currently writing a paper on the 1918 influenza pandemic for a class and I found your blog as the fourth result of google search: 1918 flu mice. Your blog is entertaining and educational; it puts complicated scientific concepts into ideas I can understand – and makes me want to learn more. I like it. It is good.

  152. JanedeLartigue

    I’m a postdoc at UC Davis in California, originally from the UK. Though not for much longer since I will be taking up medical/science writing full time next year. I dabble in writing articles about things that interest me and attend a science writing group, which is the highlight of my week. Like you academia just isn’t a fit for me, though it’s taken me much longer to admit it to myself (I’m pretty stubborn!). Your blog is absolutely fantastic and I also follow your twitter feed and am fascinated by a lot of the stuff you post and write about. You’re a real inspiration to a lot of people who read your stuff it seems from the comments here, and definitely for me. I only hope to come close to being half as good a writer as you are!

  153. Day O'Brien

    Hi! Day from Littleton, Colorado USA. I am a 48 year old return to school adult. Vet Tech 1st year. And thanks to you I now know more about animal penis’s then I dared to imagine.
    😀 You have a uniquely humourous way of explaining things. One that makes me wish the instructors at Bel- Rea had. You can count me in as another dedicated reader of yours. I look forward to see what you come up with next. And as time permits, I will browse through your past blogging.
    Slainte !

  154. Hi, I’m Melanie, PhD Biochemistry, always wanted to be a science writer, but never did well with deadlines. More power to you! I found your blog in 2008 when I left my post doc to start working in science ed/learning technologies, and I was really happy to see that explaining science to non scientists was being done so well. And frankly very happy that I could keep up with real science through your blog without slogging through the data myself. Your post on ballerinas’ movements becoming more extreme was the first one I remember–and after 10 years of fruit flies and TB, it was really refreshing!

    I am working on Immune Attack 2.0. Our hypothesis is that 9th graders and the public can learn complex molecular biology by playing a video game. It’s free to download And a lot of great science games are at

    I am also concerned, as you are, that actually doing science is such a hard row to hoe… like the tweet you just sent out about the lead author of the breakthrough of the year paper going into finance instead of physics. I’ve been telling all the science ed people who will listen: It may be true that 9th graders steer clear of science because they think its “hard”, but also because it doesn’t make money. Sure, some scientists get rich, but generally, scientists are 32 years old, post doc-ing for $40,000 and looking at a 1 in 9 chance of becoming a professor. Is there any doubt why our high school students don’t go into science? And, influence in our society requires money. How will scientists influence society if we are in labs 12 hours/day, broke and are less likely to be invited to be on boards of trustees, or to be able to afford to run for public office… etc. This is why your blog and other science blogs are so important: you influence people’s thinking about science.

    I think the only way you could improve this blog is by actually showing up in my office with coffee while I read it! Thank you for giving science a good name. I also love that you’ve included a dedication to your wife.
    Thank you!


  155. AndrewG

    I’m a researcher at Stanford. I came across the blog a while ago and have enjoyed coming back since. It’s well written, covers a variety of interesting topics, and doesn’t just parrot other sources of information. I find it useful for finding interesting science I wouldn’t normally come across, and for providing a guide to some of the most relevant and informative sources for further details. I have also been involved with sciencebuddies, and other education/outreach efforts, so appreciate the effort to make the science understandable without overly diluting it.

  156. Mark Whitcombe

    Retired outdoor education/field studies teacher/administrator; community volunteer (choir, morris dance, community sustainability, field naturalists, local trails, Terry Fox Run, …); studied plant ecology and field botany — and actually used that in my career; always interested in matters science-y, including botany, ecology/environment, archaeology, astronomy, diabetes, fitness, cognition, …; used to read science mags, but drifted away; now back reading science online via twitter and blogs and websites;

  157. Electrical engineer by day, with hobbies in music and related things (musical electronics, recording, homebuilt instruments and amplifiers, video editing), woodwork, homebrewing. Interests in ecology, languages, Buddhism. I came to this thread from a link in your recent “Echo chamber” post, which was linked in a Carl Zimmer tweet. I like to read science articles partly just for interest, but also because they give a clue as to what will be showing up in the engineering press in the future.

  158. Tanya McPositron

    I am a current dyscalculaic and former Science-phobe. As kid, I adored science, but mediocre schools and uninspired teachers destroyed my curiosity about the natural world. Why in the world would a principal entrust off-season football coaches to teach the wonders of Physics and Biology? Later, in college, I limped through Anatomy, Geology, and Astronomy. I loved the concepts, but the formulas killed me. Once free of looming midterms, Discover Magazine hooked me in the early 90’s, and it reeeeeled me hopelessly in with its July ’01 issue. I loooooove all things science and rarely stop thinking/talking/singing about it. I’ve made my peace with my limitations in math. Thankfully, I don’t have to work through equations or solve problems myself anymore. You glorious folks working on the Science of science, so- I get to sit back and enjoy the art of science. Such luxury!

  159. Linda

    Hi Ed!
    I am a 25-year-old former goldsmith and current art student from the Netherlands. My passion is making stuff! I’m pretty smart and science interests me to no end, but somehow it has always seemed to tedious to me to actually DO science. I do however read an awful lot about all branches of science, in magazines and online; ever since I was a kid, actually! I’m a bit of an information junkie, really.
    How I came across your blog I can’t really remember, it was probably a link from some other blog…
    Keep up the good work Ed, I love reading your blog, it’s always very witty, entertaining and well-written, on top of covering interesting topics :-)

  160. Kate

    54 year-old woman in the UK, forced by parents to study physics at school and uni (I was hopeless, reacted against it all at the time and dropped out in Y2) I became a TV engineer (successfully awarded producer job in Tomorrow’s World but idiot woman-hating management wouldn’t allow me to do it) then quit to go to art school – hurrah! Since then, built and wrote for an early pop-sci website, made art (complex interactive machines), did loads of web work (attempting to improve communication of complex ideas on screen and with stats), trained as a therapist (psychoanalytic, NHS etc – trying to think of ways of designing ethical research into relationship-based therapies). (I haven’t written this down before, quite enjoyed thinking over what’s happened, so thanks for that!)
    I love good science writing, being introduced to big ideas… and you’re a star! I probably arrived here via BadScience – but subscribe to lots of science blogs, so not sure – these blogs and the LRB are my staples, some reassurance that there are people in the world who enjoy thinking and don’t carp about intellectual interests and abilities. I try to circulate science writing among non-scientist chums as much as possible…

  161. Sara

    I am a 25 year-old graduate student studying Scientific, Technical, and Medical writing.
    As an undergraduate, I studied Animal Science, Environmental Science, and GIS because I wanted to be a wildlife veterinarian in the wilderness (don’t ask…)
    When I realized how far-fetched that was, I did research for a little while, and learned that I absolutely hate sitting in a lab making cell cultures and counting bacteria under a microscope for hours, but that I enjoyed writing about the findings so much more. I later worked in a veterinary hospital and ended up writing quite a few Standard Operating Procedures, brochures, etc. which was very enjoyable as well. Although I enjoyed working with animals, I didn’t love it. I didn’t know where my life would go from there and didn’t even consider a career in writing. It was just something I liked while I felt stuck at that job.
    One day I spoke to a friend of mine who asked “Well what is that you really love to do?” and I replied “I like anything to do with science save for actually doing it, and I like to read and write.” He simply said, “So why don’t you read and write about science?” It was an epiphany. Dur. And here I am.
    I discovered your blog fairly recently and fell in love with the way you talk about science. You make it accessible and interesting for everybody despite the complexity of certain topics. I hope to one day be able to share my love of science as well as you do so that everyone can learn about it and perhaps be inspired to either pursue it or write as well. Thank you Mr. Yong.


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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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