Happy Ada Lovelace Day – a celebration of women science writers

By Ed Yong | October 16, 2012 6:51 am


It’s Ada Lovelace Day, in which people round the world celebrate the legacy of a legendary woman by “sharing stories of women— whether engineers, scientists, technologists or mathematicians — who have inspired you to become who you are today”.

I’m taking a slightly different tack. I’m sharing the names of women who tell stories – science writers whose work I admire. (If anyone’s wondering, here’s the intensely scientific method I used to compile the list: I sat down, wrote names, and stopped when I got to 15) Each name is accompanied with a brief reason why I think they’re awesome and some links to past work. And as I’ve said before, this is not a list of top female science writers; this is an all-female list of top science writers.

Helen Pearson is the last person who’ll tell you this, but she’s one of the most accomplished feature writers around. Check out this profile of protein-resurrector Joe Thornton or this award-winning story about the study of a lifetime or this classic day-in-the-life piece about Bob Langer. A masterclass in longform right there.

Megan Garber from the Atlantic captures the aesthetic of the modern online blogger-columnist better than anyone else I know. She uses the daily news as a launch pad for wonderfully witty and insightful commentary. And more than anyone else I know, Megan can take something already quite joyous like this Ode to Joy flashmob and make it even more joyous by just bloody talking about it.

Maryn McKenna is like a living arrow, fired straight into the heart of the “blogging isn’t journalism” meme. On her blog Superbug, she regularly delivers some of the best journalism around on the subjects of infectious disease and agriculture. See her coverage of the recent NIH superbug, her piece on a childhood pertussis vaccine, and her detailed investigation into the link between chickens, antibiotics, and 8 million urinary tract infections every year.

Rebecca Rosen absolutely excels at finding beautiful stories, and then writing beautifully about them. See her pieces on Voyager I’s prolonged exit from our solar system, what a trip into space does for the religious experience, and a deaf man hears music for the first time.

Kate Clancy tackles the topic of female reproduction with the great writing and clear science that it deserves but rarely receives. See these posts about Todd Akin’s claims, or the myth of menstrual toxins. And Kate gets extra kudos for acting as a role model for other female scientists and bloggers.

Maggie Koerth-Baker is Boing Boing’s science editor and a columnist at the New York Times, which should tell you something about the blend of wit and authority at play here. See this amazing piece on prion diseases (which doubles as an op/ed on live-tweeting conferences), this one on how science museums are failing, and this brave, personal piece on abortions. And the hilarious Twitter stream.

Alice Bell has yet to say something about science communication or policy that I disagree with. Her writings on these topics are compassionate, deeply considered, and razor-sharp. See this piece on why the fridge got its hum, and specifically listen to her podcast on science literacy.

Virginia Hughes is the journalist who neuroscientists trust to get things right. Because she does. See her recent feature on the neuroscience of resilience, and this feature on the ecosystem of the body that made it into the Best American Science Writing anthology. And everything she writes on Last Word on Nothing is worth reading.

Deborah Blum makes narrative writing looks effortless, and is having immense fun playing around with storytelling on her blog. Have a look at these posts on the mysterious deaths of two sisters in Thailand, a student death in a UCLA lab, and on condors being poisoned by lead

Jennifer Ouellette, whose funny, lively writing enlivens pretty much anything, from serious stuff (Why can’t we travel faster than light?) to… er… less serious stuff (a paean to the science of yodelling).

SciCurious is a master of funny, analytical blogging. Her posts where she picks apart papers area joy to read, deeply educational, and a great insight into what a paper looks like through the lens of a sceptical scientist. See this one on anorexia and obesity, and on mimetic desires. And Friday Weird Science is a consistent delight.

Emily Willingham is the last person I’d want to read my terrible opinion piece, if I chose to write one. Behold these eviscerations on autism and whipworm, and the broken DNA of older dads, on her blog, and also the generally great science writing elsewhere like this one about children in a mother’s mind.

Kerri Smith has been described as the “complete journalist” – awesome at words, pictures, video and audio. See, for example, this profile of dino-hunter Xing Xu, but also the great stream of Nature features on daydreaming, the future of fMRI and more.

Erika Check Hayden nails genetics reporting every single time – textbook example of how to cover a beat really well. See this feature on informed consent, post on what Steve Jobs’s death tells us about the limits of sequencing, or more generally, her continuing reporting for Nature.

Barbara King has been blogging up at storm over at NPR, with loads of thoughtful, fascinating posts on animal behaviour and all things anthropological. See these posts on captive killer whales, the death of a gorilla, or misleading bird “funerals” for starters.

I really could go on. Okay, I will. Here are the next 25 people I wrote down.

Sally Adee (on the neuroscience of night terrors); Petra Boynton (on grieving after stillbirth); Ilana Yurkiewicz (on balancing a scientist’s curiosity with a medic’s compassion); Heather Pringle (on the heartbreaking Tambopata gold mine disaster); Shara Yurkiewicz (on a psychiatric interview); Emily Finke (on finding the spectacular in your own backyard); Jennifer Frazer (on a fountain of life at the bottom of the Dead Sea); Ann Finkbeiner (on resonance); Jessa Gamble (on a wolf encounter); Xeni Jardin (on her own breast cancer diagnosis); Veronique Greenwood (on a mystery of superhuman vision); Christie Wilcox (on pesticide residues in organic food); Amy Harmon (on autistic teens seeking a place in an adult world); Kate Wong (on Australopithecus sediba); Kimberley Gerson (on what it takes for gorillas to dismantle a snare); Bec Crew (on the golden tortoise beetle and its anal fork); Miriam Goldstein (on 3 ways of looking at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch); Maia Szalavitz (on the real science behind Naomi Wolf’s Vagina); Hillary Rosner (on the evolution of colour); Lindsey Fitzharris (on 18th/19th century bodysnatchers); Maria Konnikova (on a history of standardi(s/z)ation); Michelle Nijhuis (on flaws and uncertainty in science); Annaleen Newitz (on anthropomorphizing animal sex behaviour); Rebekah Higgitt (on the geek mythology around Tesla); Debora Mackenzie (link to follow when the New Scientist website stops crashing on me; check out the Threatwatch blog)

There are undoubtedly many, many people I’ve missed, and we’re not even scratching the surface of women who are scientists themselves, who do science podcasts, who do science comedy, and so on. Want more? Tori Herridge and Alice Bell have been collecting Twitter lists of awesome female scientists. And there’s this old but still wide-ranging view of the female science blogosphere.

Feel free to add more below, although try to stick with the format. I find these things more helpful if you give a reason why that person is great, or at the very least, a link to something they’ve written.


And I haven’t had time to check the links so let me know if any are broken.



Comments (69)

  1. Aoife McLysaght

    I’ll also add @claireoconnell who is a freelancer often writing for The Irish Times and New Scientist, and @mhdelaney whose blog http://sciencecalling.com/ just won Best Science / Education Blog at the Blog Awards Ireland.

  2. I was going to say Amy Harmon but she’s there (womp, need coffee). I would love to see some radio women on there (Lynn Levy from Radiolab, Flora Lichtman from Science Friday, Alix Spiegel from NPR).

  3. Grrlscientist who blogs at the Guardian is extremely good.

  4. Okay, Rose really needs to be on the list too. No idea why she wasn’t – clearly I am losing it. Check out this excellent SciAm feature on the science behind Oscar Pistorius’ legs and all the wonderful audio/video work like this animation about the life of a paper

  5. Oh and Olivia Solon – consistently good news pieces on Wired UK and a must-follow Twitter stream (@olivia_solon).

  6. I would definitely add psychologist and broadcaster Aleks Krotoski (@aleksk), whose Digital Human series for BBC Radio 4 is a really impressive body of work.

  7. Don’t forget Sharon Weinberger who is a total authority on US defence and security, and the way science plays into that. Microwave weapons? http://www.nature.com/news/microwave-weapons-wasted-energy-1.11396 Enriching uranium with lasers, not centrifuges? http://www.nature.com/news/us-grants-licence-for-uranium-laser-enrichment-1.11502 Sharon has it covered, I’m a great admirer.

  8. Some authors:
    Jo Marchant, whose Decoding the Heavens is so well-written I often threw it across the room it in fits of envy whilst reading it.

    Science Factory labelmates Aarathi Prasad and Angela Saini, who in writing Like A Virgin and Geek Nation respectively are both guilty of putting out books on important and hugely topical subjects.

    And of course Dava Sobel, whose Longitude is a masterpiece of narrative non-fiction, as I suspect the rest of her books will prove to be once I get round to reading them.

    Last but not least, Rebecca Skloot, who showed everyone how a really great book escapes the confines of the dust jacket and wraps its influence across the world.

  9. Excellent. Keep it comin, folks. Actually embarrassed at having missed out some of these names.

  10. Nadia Drake

    Eugenie Samuel Reich, for straight-up, kick-ass reporting on scientists behaving badly…and physics ‘n stuff. Recent story on Annie Dookhan, Boston forensic chemist who’s boinked a bunch of criminal cases (“she sometimes contaminated samples after the fact so that they would conform to her guesses”): http://www.nature.com/news/boston-scandal-exposes-backlog-1.11561
    Here she is, scooping the rest of us astro reporters by attending a seminar given by MIT’s Maria Zuber, principal investigator for the lunar gravity-sniffing GRAIL mission (“Yet her talk, and the thrilled reactions from those present at the seminar…”) : http://www.nature.com/news/tandem-satellites-probe-the-moon-s-interior-1.11419
    …and so many more excellent stories.

  11. Andrew Miller

    Perhaps more reporting than story-telling but I would like to draw people’s attention to Miriam Tucker for her excellent writing on medicine esp. diabetes and NCDs http://www.miriametucker.com/

  12. Thank you Ed, I’m so flattered to be included! What a great list, including the additions in the comments! I’m giving a talk today at Bradley University as part of their Women and Science lecture series – I’ll be bringing up this post!

  13. Ed, this is a fantastic idea and list — deep thanks. (I am blushing and thrilled at my entry.) I’ll add Helen Branswell, who arrived home to Canada from a foreign political assignment just before SARS flattened Toronto, and reinvented herself as an emerging-infections reporter with such thoroughness that she subsequently led worldwide coverage of pandemic flu.

  14. Helen Pearson

    Meredith Wadman is incredible at getting the human story behind science. As she did in her poignant story of two scientists on the verge of closing their labs for lack of funding http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090204/pdf/457650a.pdf ; and in her story on the turmoil behind the National Children’s Study http://www.nature.com/news/child-study-turmoil-leaves-bitter-taste-1.10650 ; and in a profile of Theresa Deisher, who was behind the lawsuit to fight human-embryonic-stem-cell research http://www.nature.com/news/2011/090211/full/470156a.html. And in many more…

  15. Great list. My eye is on upcoming talent. See the list of Q&As on The SA Incubator – most are young women. Here is the last one and the rest are linked at the bottom of that post: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/incubator/2012/09/19/introducing-kelly-poe/

  16. Natalie Angier, of the New York Times and her own fantastic books–a brilliant essayist.

    Bug Girl, who is on diapause, but whose archives are well worth reading (make sure you don’t have food in your mouth while reading, unless your furniture has protective covering): http://membracid.wordpress.com/

    The Bug Chicks, who make getting down on the ground to look fun: http://thebugchicks.com/

    Janet Browne–Darwin’s biographer, which surely counts (and she has a degree in zoology)

    Great idea for a list, Ed!

  17. Alex Witze

    Laura Sanders: fearless in tackling any topic, from quantum physics to consciousness (Science News)

    Rhitu Chatterjee: globetrotting radio reporter extraordinaire (PRI’s The World)

    Emma Marris: Feisty, philosophical, 100 percent original. (Author, The Rambunctious Garden)

  18. Since Alex hasn’t done it herself, she totally belongs on the list too: lightning-chasers, superheavy elements, and other such love for the oft-neglected physical sciences.

  19. Fer Castano

    must add @JacquelynGill and her blog contemplativemammoth.wordpress.com/

  20. Christie Aschwanden: likewise fearless, but at tackling vested interests
    Cassandra Willyard: graceful, smart, and very funny
    Cameron Walker: finds stories where you’d least expect them
    And jeez yes, Alex Witze belongs on the list

  21. Nadia Drake

    Re Alex Witze: don’t forget volcanoes! Alex is ace. Check out this story, straight from Iceland and a great piece of reporting: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/341497/title/13th_century_volcano_mystery_may_be_solved

  22. I wrote this list at 2am. That is my excuse for obvious brain-fails like omitting Alex. But seriously, I love the fact that it’s snowballing in the comments.

  23. Great list! It’s impossible to remember all of the brilliant women sci writers out there, but I ‘d like to add a couple more, both of them biological anthropologists:

    Holly Dunsworth http://ecodevoevo.blogspot.com/
    Katie Hinde http://mammalssuck.blogspot.com/

    Both of them will make you think and laugh at the same time.

  24. Great list, Ed! Yes, Alex belongs on the list.

    And so do Mariette DiChristina (@mdichristina) and Robin Lloyd (@robinlloyd99) who make wonderful stories happen every day at @SciAm.

    Also, can’t forget Liz Landau (@lizlandau) of CNN and Katharine Harmon (@katherineharmon) of @sciam covering health and science.

    I’d also add Diane Ackerman (@DianeSAckerman) who writes beautiful books. Lastly, Jennifer Ackerman and Susan Allport, both brilliant science storytellers, although I don’t believe they have blogs or are on twitter.

    As you said, Ed, this list could really go on and on!

  25. Yes! I +1 Patrick’s additions of Holly and Katie!

  26. Ed, this is a fabulous list and I’m honored to be included. Thank you! Aside from those already mentioned, a quick glance at my bookcase gives me:

    Laurie Garret (@Laurie_Garrett) Pulitzer Prize winner. Author: I Heard the Sirens Scream (2011), The Coming Plague & Betrayal of Trust. http://www.lauriegarrett.com

    Mary Roach (@mary_roach) : “Bonk.” Need I say more? http://www.maryroach.net/

    Helen Scales (@helenscales) Marine biologist; Author of a lovely and well-researched book on seahorses, “Poseidon’s Steed.” Blogs at @seamonsterblog http://theseamonster.net/author/helen-scales/

    Diane Ackerman (@DianeSAckerman) The only writer I know who can one minute deliver an intelligent discussion of DNA, the amygdala, or neurotransmitters and in the next breath segue to a poetic reflection on Proust, Buddhism, or the “liquid mosaic” of a lover’s face. http://www.dianeackerman.com/

    And, thanks to you Ed, I’ve now added about 20 new people to my Twitter feed. Excellent list.

  27. Michael Moyer

    I’m as biased as anyone could possibly be about this, but I’ll nominate Melinda Wenner Moyer (@lindy2350 http://melindawenner.com/ ), who is as good as it gets at taking apart knotty health and nutritional studies and putting everything back together. See, for example, her look at what a much-hyped salt study really showed:
    her dive into the statistical problems of fish oil studies:
    an open-hearted look at what we really know about the dangers of epidurals:
    and, in honor of Ms. Lovelace, a look at what really holds women back in science:
    … I could go on. She also writes a lot for the big women’s mags, which perhaps explains why guys like us wouldn’t have seen as much of her work.

  28. Helen Branswell

    Leslie Roberts of Science – her polio eradication coverage is the gold standard.

  29. What an incredible list. Having serious case of impostor syndrome seeing my name among these great women. I had others come to mind, but scrolling through the comments, I see almost all of their names already! I hope people bookmark this entry and refer to it and the comments frequently. So much that’s good here, and I’m glad to say I’ve read almost everything that’s linked or mentioned. Thanks, Ed.

  30. http://www.planetary.org/about/staff/emily-lakdawalla.html Emily Lakdawalla is the best storyteller that the planetary sciences community has right now (and the DPS honored her with an award last year for it).

  31. This is great to see so many friends and colleagues. And most of the additional folks I’ve thought of have already been listed in the comments. Here’s just a few more people that I wish I was working with constantly!
    Mary Carmichael: http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110713/full/475156a.html
    Trisha Gura: http://www.nature.com/news/rare-diseases-genomics-plain-and-simple-1.10125
    Shanta Barley: http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110223/full/470454a.html

  32. I’ll add a couple of friends:

    Emily Lakdawalla of The Planetary Society Blog (@elakdawalla)

    Amy Shira Teitel of Vintage Space (@astVintageSpace)

  33. I love Katharine Harmon’s (@katherineharmon) articles and blog posts on SciAm: http://www.scientificamerican.com/author.cfm?id=1822
    Plus can’t ignore her blog about octopuses! http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/octopus-chronicles

    Blogging on SciAm too, there’s Cassie Rodenberg who is just a wonderful writer doing wonderful work: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/white-noise/

    Amy Shira Teitel who blogs at Vintage Space: http://amyshirateitel.com/

    Sarah Laskow, freelance writer, editor of Smithsonian’s SmartNews curation blog. She guest contributed on Scitable: http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/scholarcast/this_week_sarah_laskow

    Rachel Nuwer, super prolific young science writer (@RachelNuwer)

    Lena Groeger, who’s now at ProPublica: @lenagroeger

    Finally lots of upcoming young female writers did Q&As with SciAm: blogs.scientificamerican.com/incubator/

  34. @Brendan – +10 for Mary! We need a plan to tempt her back into science from the fiendish world of higher-ed.

  35. Rachel

    Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Society!
    Excellent in-depth coverage of solar system news and discoveries.

  36. Larkspur

    Oh, this is such a fabulous resource. Thank you, and let me add Gina Kolata.

  37. I’ll add a couple of Canadians –

    Alison Motluk, for indepth investigative work on reproductive technology – such as this award-winner on the human egg trade: http://walrusmagazine.com/articles/2010.04-health-the-human-egg-trade/

    … and this award-winner on the crisis in medical isotopes in Canada: http://walrusmagazine.com/articles/2011.04-science-a-political-meltdown/

    … and her award-winning radio work for Quirks & Quarks, such as this feature on egg freezing: http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Quirks+and+Quarks/Excerpts/ID/15336436/?page=13

  38. Ah the New Yorker mention reminds me of the excellent Elizabeth Kolbert – here’s her profile of ancient-DNA wrangler Svante Paabo and a piece on overpopulation

  39. Margaret Munro, for her fearless investigation of the Canadian government muzzling federal scientists – http://margaretmunro.wordpress.com/tag/muzzled-scientists/

    and Alanna Mitchell, for her elegant but clear chronicling of our changing environment, in books like Seasick

  40. Can’t argue with Khalil’s nomination of Sarah Laskow — she also writes for me at Grist (http://grist.org/author/sarah-laskow/) and is reliably terrific. And indispensable. So, you know, give her freelance work but please please don’t steal her from me.

    Most of my favorites have been mentioned, but I have to plug my mom, Robin Marantz Henig (@robinhenig), who’s been doing this since most of you were in diapers — nearly 40 years! She’s a tenacious interviewer (which is kind of mixed if you’re her kid, but great if you’re her subject), a scrupulous researcher, and a personal role model of mine, obviously. Here’s one of her recent New York Times Magazine cover stories: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/magazine/04anxiety-t.html?pagewanted=all

  41. Wow, what a great list! I feel honored to be on there :)

  42. This is such a terrific list. Thank you for starting the ball rolling. So inspiring and encouraging.

  43. Bonnie-Sue

    Forgive me if she’s on here and I just didn’t see it, but Florence Williams, and her amazing environmental reporting on Breasts! (and a lot of other things) http://www.florencewilliams.com

  44. Thanks Alex Witze. I feel honored to be part of it! I was about to add you, but Ed and others beat me to it. Ed, thanks for starting this inspiring list.

    Two more people I’d like to add:

    Sarah Everts: Surprising stories about chemistry. (Chemical & Engineering News)

    Helen Fields (Freelance): http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/04/video-caterpillars-talk-with-the.html

  45. Bias be damned, @jess and @MichaelMoyer: Robin Marantz Henig and Melinda Wenner-Moyer are essential additions to any list of women science writers, so I’m glad you mentioned them. If you hadn’t, I was on my way through the comments section to do it myself.

    I second the additions of Mary Roach, Dava Sobel … Also Amy Harmon and Xeni, for sure. And thanks for the kind words about my book, @Frank.

    To add to the list: Sheri Fink, MD, who won a pulitzer for her incredible ProPublica/NYT Mag story “The Deadly Choices at Memorial,” (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/magazine/30doctors.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) which is the subject of her next book http://www.sherifink.net

    And though she’s not primarily a science writer, I think any list of women writers who’ve made important contributions to science storytelling (and therefore science) must include Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

    I’d also add Alondra Nelson (@alondra and http://www.alondranelson.com/), author of “Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination”

    Sylvia Nasar, economist and author of A Beautiful Mind.

    And Suleika Jaouad, a very brave young science writer who’s been documenting her experiences with cancer and infertility for the New York Times in a column called Life Interrupted http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/category/voices-2/life/

    I’m sure there are many others I’m forgetting. Great to see so many names on Ed’s list and in the comments!

  46. Don’t forget Ann Gibbons, the most knowledgeable anthropology writer of either sex, and my partner on Science’s anthro beat.

  47. Did someone say Sandra Blakeslee? … a great writer and one on a mission to inspire new writers with the tricks and the tools of her trade.

  48. Alex Witze

    Also Laura Helmuth (Slate), who writes on everything from why Jonathan Franzen is the world’s most annoying birdwatcher, to how Romney kicked Obama’s butt in the recent answers to ScienceDebate campaign questions.


  49. I’m adding Nadia Drake as another “has commented, is awesome, hasn’t self-added” person. See this hot-of-the-presses piece on the new exoplanet. Great stuff http://t.co/6iBRF9pq

    And Rebecca Skloot needs no introduction but I’m going to highlight her anyway. She remains the author of probably my favourite science book. The book: http://rebeccaskloot.com/the-immortal-life/ My review: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/11/09/the-immortal-life-of-henrietta-lacks/

  50. Dina Kraft

    And another worthy name to add to the list: Cynthia Garber, @cagraber. who writes beautifully about everything from snake oil to how the heart repairs itself. She’s an MIT Knight Fellow this year. http://www.cynthiagraber.com

  51. I’d add Samantha Murphy — she writes a lot of great stuff for New Scientist including. I loved her piece on LulzSec (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128291.900-summer-of-lulz-the-empire-strikes-back.html). Also am surprised that no one has mentioned Susan Orlean! While she may not be a science writer, per se, she does a beautiful job of delving into science in her books.

  52. Deborah Byrd of EarthSky.com, who regularly publishes information along with visuals about what is up in the sky on any particular night, plus regular discussions of issues in astronomy:
    http://earthsky.org/he sky

  53. DeLene Beeland

    Wonderful list! These women have already been mentioned in the comments, but I’d add: Elizabeth Kolbert, Rebecca Skloot, Holly Menino, and Laura Helmuth (who is also an AMAZING, insightful editor). And I have my eye on Meera Lee Sethi (The Science Essayist blog) for up-and-coming science writers.

  54. Nadia Drake

    (Aww, shoot. Thanks, Ed!)

  55. Mike Lemonick

    I’d add Carmen Drahl of Chemical and Engineering News and J0anna Foster, who freelances for the New York Times, among other places — and not just because this would put a total of three of my former students (Liz Landau being the third) on the list. I take no credit for their terrific writing and reporting, but enormous pride.

  56. Raj Pillai

    Excellent list, I would add one more person to that list.. Laurel Kornfeld she writes the most authoritarian blog on Pluto ( http://laurelsplutoblog.blogspot.com/ )… she would make a perfect addition to this esteemed list.. Thanks..

  57. Thanks, Ed! Great list and I’m honored to be a part of it.

  58. Jill U Adams

    I’m totally inspired by this post and this list of terrific writers. I did a quick count and think we’re at ~125, including many of my regular “must-reads.”

    Still, I need to add a few more:

    Rosie Mestel, whose work I enjoy so much now that she’s out from behind her editor’s desk at the LAT. She’s quick to get to the bottom of things, such as the brouhaha over that organic food study:

    Kristin Ohlson, who writes beautifully about her reporting travels in Afghanistan as well as smoldering coal mines in Kentucky: http://discovermagazine.com/2010/jul-aug/28-earth-on-fre

    Clare Leschin-Hoar, who is one of my favorite food writers. She covers the beat at Take Part and delivers more science-y takes on mislabeled fish here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=dna-testing-for-seafood-fraud

  59. Dutch Railroader
  60. Thanks, Jason! And thanks, Ed, for starting this great list of writing role models.

  61. Thank you, Ed, I’m incredibly flattered! (And the longer list is awesome — sooo many of my heroes!)

  62. Catherine Lussenhop

    Definitely would also add Lisa Grossman (@astrolisa) of New Scientist, formerly of Wired Science. She’s a reporting machine, and always a reliable source for space and physics news. I like how she often takes on tough topics, from intense quantum mechanics stories (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22336-quantum-measurements-leave-schrodingers-cat-alive.html) to Sally Ride’s sexuality (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22115-why-sally-rides-sexuality-really-matters.html).

  63. Jon

    Nice list, Ed; here are a few more of my faves:

    Nicola Jones, e.g. for Science in Three Dimensions: the Print Revolutions, Nature 487: 22-23 ( http://www.nature.com/news/science-in-three-dimensions-the-print-revolution-1.10939 )

    @ClaireAinsworth, e.g. for Tails of the Unexpected, Nature 448: 638-641 ( http://www.phy.syr.edu/research/Foster/Website-2010/LAB/PDF%20files/Tails%20of%20the%20unexpected_%20Nature%202007.pdf )

    Gabrielle Walker, e.g. for Snowball Earth (http://www.amazon.com/Snowball-Earth-Gabrielle-Walker/dp/0747568502 )

    (All alumnae of a “golden age” of New Scientist magazine; and ok, I’ll admit perhaps being biased by being married to one of them!)

  64. davem

    Since it’s Ada Lovelace day, add this for light relief…

  65. I nominate Gabrielle Emilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise Du Chatelet, whose 18th century translation of and commentary on Newton’s Principia is still considered the standard today in France.

  66. Tara

    I would like to suggest Becky Ward of http://ittakes30.wordpress.com/category/actual-science/
    She writes about active research (and academic life) in the Harvard Systems Biology department with fine dry British wit.


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