Science Reporting

Science Writing Science

The first 3-D atlas of the human brain. The fight to save the Pinta tortoise from oblivion. A rabble-rouser’s shakeup of systems biology. An exoplanet bathed in perpetual twilight. Whether focusing on nanotechnology, synthetic biology or astrobiology, my goal is to clearly articulate the significance and context of new advances, challenges and controversies. My work has appeared in publications like Scientific American, Nature, BBC Focus, Nature Reports Stem Cells, Science News, Science News for Kids, MSNBC.com, Newsday, and Chemical Heritage.

Featured Stories

Photo: aigarius via Flickr Creative Commons

Inside the Brain Lab [PDF]

BBC Focus, October, 2011

There’s an unassuming building that overlooks the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. Inside it a lab technician is peering into a machine reminiscent of a small bacon slicer lodged within an upright freezer. With each pass of the blade, another tissue-thin slice of human brain cortex falls away from a thumb-sized slab kept at –17°C.

Photo: Bryn Nelson

Natural Disasters: A Calculated Risk

NatureJobs, March 13, 2013

Scientists and engineers with an analytical bent are increasingly sought after in natural-hazard risk assessment.

Photo: Lynette Cook, NASA

Black Plants and Twilight Zones

Scientific American, December, 2010

Astronomers have long searched for a planet that could harbor life outside our solar system. When reports came in earlier this fall of the not too hot, not too cold exoplanet Gliese 581g, it was like the answer to a dream.

Photo: Nick Piggott via Flickr Creative Commons

The Lingering Heat Over Pasteurized Milk

Chemical Heritage Magazine, Spring, 2009

In the 16 March 1907 issue, The Outlook asked its New York City readers, ‘Should the city cook its milk?’ Forty-five years had passed since a French chemist named Louis Pasteur tested the heating process that would eventually bear his name. More than a century later the uncertainty of this question still reverberates through farmers’ markets and online forums as public health officials and consumers battle over safety, nutrition, and taste.

Photo: Merck & Co.

Personal Genomes: A Disruptive Personality, Disrupted

Nature, November 5, 2003

In need of an escape from the mental gymnastics of hardcore genome analysis, Eric Schadt, executive scientific director of research genetics for Rosetta Inpharmatics, is clear about what works for him — careering down a steep mountainside on a snowboard.

Photo: Bryn Nelson

Tortoise Genes and Island Beings [PDF]

Science News, November 10, 2007

Not far from where the Galápagos Islands’ most famous loner spends his days, tourists disembark by the inflatable boatload at a modern dock. A path takes them past marine iguanas sneezing brine from their salt-caked nostrils and striated herons roosting in the red mangroves to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Within the station, another walkway leads to a natural enclosure sheltering a misanthropic Galápagos tortoise named Lonesome George.

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Additional Stories

Big Buzzword on Campus: Is ‘Convergence’ a Revolution in Science or Simply Jargon?

Scientific American, July 18, 2011

Researchers push for a fuller integration of the life, engineering and physical science

Building Blocks

NatureJobs, December 2, 2009

The growing allure of synthetic biology.

Data Sharing: Empty Archives

Nature, September 9, 2009

Why many scientists choose not to share.

Frontiers

MSNBC.com, September, 2007 - January, 2009

A compendium of my “Frontiers” features for MSNBC.com, focused on forward-looking science and technology.

Scientists Look to Sperm to Power Nanobots

MSNBC.com, January 2, 2008

How the motor behind the whip-like tail of sperm could power nanobots.