Four million views, a personal look at the year, and many thanks

By Ed Yong | December 31, 2010 1:51 pm

I just wanted to mark this moment – Not Exactly Rocket Science has just received its four millionth page view. It’s a pretty sweet New Year’s present and gives me a nice hook to reflect on the last year.

I wrote 275 pieces for the blog, and I started doing a weekly roundup of links. In March, I moved the blog to Discover, a decision I’ve been immensely happy with. For reference, two of the four million views so far have been in the last 10 months (it took 42 to get the first two million). The first set of heartfelt thanks go to Amos Zeeberg for recruting me; Eliza Strickland, Gemma Shusterman, Andrew Moseman, Joe Calamia, and Jennifer Welsh for helping to promote and debug the blog; Sheril, Carl, Phil, Razib, Sean, Chris and my other fellow Discover bloggers for their camaraderie; my entire network of friends and colleagues in the blogosphere, Twitter and the UK science community for their support; and everyone who reads, comments on, and passes on these posts for taking NERS out of the echo-chamber and into the world.

Outside of the blog, I wrote six feature pieces: on memory molecules and a 40-million-year dry spell for the Times’s Eureka magazine, on the mislabelled ‘warrior gene’ and the magnetovision of birds for New Scientist, on surprisingly sophisticated slime moulds for the Guardian, and a couple of items for WIRED’s Ideas Special. My thanks go out to my editors Kate Douglas, Michael LePage, Alok Jha, Antonia Senior and David Rowan for commissioning those pieces and knocking them into shape.

I started doing lots of speaking engagements on journalism, blogging and writing: at the US and London editions of ScienceOnline 2010; for science communication/journalism students at City University, Imperial College, NYU and Macquarie University; at the ABSW science journalism conference; and at several  debates/panels at the Royal Institution, City University and more. Hearty thanks to Bora Zivkovic, Alice Bell, Mark Henderson, Lucy Harper, Ivan Oransky, David Dobbs, Henry Scowcroft, Fiona Fox, Mun-Keat Looi and Steve Pratt for inviting me to those events.

Best of all, I won the online category in the National Academies Keck 2010 Science Communication Awards, the Three Quarks Daily Science Prize 2010, and three prizes at the inaugural Research Blogging Awards 2009. Thanks to the judging panels, Richard Dawkins and my fellow bloggers respectively. (In return, I also helped to judge the resurrected ABSW Science Writing awards and OpenLab 2010) I somehow ended up in Eureka’s 100 important people in science supplement, in a list of ten people under 40 to watch. Presumably not in the voyeuristic sense, or the Government blacklist sense. Thanks to Mark Henderson and Alice Bell for graciously accepting my bribes.

In November, I had a nap. Next year, I might do more of that.

But probably not.

And last but not least, a final massive burst of gratitude to my wife, Alice, for her unerring encouragment and belief, in these endeavours and in everything else.

Happy New Year everyone. See you in 2011.


Comments (11)

  1. Daniel J. Andrews

    Happy New Year, Ed. Thanks for the many excellent posts this year as well as the year end round-ups and the missing links posts. And congrats on your many fine and well-deserved achievements this year. See you next year.

  2. Kat

    Happy New year and congratulations on all your achievements :)

  3. Thank you for all the great posts. There is a reason your blog is award winning.

    And, thank your wife too since it appears she makes it all possible. Happy New Year to you both!

  4. A pretty neat list Ed. An impressive year. Lots of inspiration. Have a great 2011. :)

  5. Dennis

    Congratulations on a great year, Ed, and hopes for even more next year.

  6. What a brilliant year you’ve had – and how richly you’ve deserved it. I’m being entirely selfish when I say I hope you keep it up! 😉

  7. Congrats! Congrats! Congrats! …what’ll ya do for a 2011 encore!???

  8. Same goal as last year – be a better writer and reach a wider audience. Pay attention and keep on learning. Pretty straightforward really. 😉

    Thanks for the encouragement everyone.

  9. Thanks for bringing us science that’s fun to read!

  10. Neuro-conservative

    Belated New Year’s wishes and thanks for all the great work you do. You are the future of science writing, and the future looks bright indeed!

  11. Congrats, you’re quite welcome, and keep up the good work. Your contributions across the board are simply tremendous, and your company peerless. Many happy returns and all best wishes.


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