The circumstances in which scientists are science journos

On September 6, 2019, two researchers from Israel uploaded a preprint to the bioRxiv preprint server entitled ‘Can scientists fill the science journalism void? Online public engagement with two science stories authored by scientists’. Two news sites invited scientists to write science articles for them, supported by a short workshop at the start of theContinue reading “The circumstances in which scientists are science journos”

Good writing is an atom

The act of writing well is like an atom, or the universe. There is matter but it is thinly distributed, with lots of empty space in between. Removing this seeming nothingness won’t help, however. Its presence is necessary for things to remain the way they are and work just as well. Similarly, writing is notContinue reading “Good writing is an atom”

Ruins of the Sutlej avulsion paper's coverage

Reporting on the new Indus civilisation study out of IIT-K and Imperial College London was an interesting experience because it afforded an opportunity to discover how the technical fields of sedimentology and hydrodynamics can help understand the different ways in which a civilisation can grow. And also how “fluviodeltaic morphodynamics” just rolls off the tongue.Continue reading “Ruins of the Sutlej avulsion paper's coverage”

Ruins of the Sutlej avulsion paper’s coverage

Reporting on the new Indus civilisation study out of IIT-K and Imperial College London was an interesting experience because it afforded an opportunity to discover how the technical fields of sedimentology and hydrodynamics can help understand the different ways in which a civilisation can grow. And also how “fluviodeltaic morphodynamics” just rolls off the tongue.Continue reading “Ruins of the Sutlej avulsion paper’s coverage”

By the way: the Chekhov's gun and the science article

“If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” (source) This is the principle of the Chekhov’s gun: that all items within a narrative must contribute to the overarching narrative itself, and those that don’t should beContinue reading “By the way: the Chekhov's gun and the science article”

By the way: the Chekhov’s gun and the science article

“If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” (source) This is the principle of the Chekhov’s gun: that all items within a narrative must contribute to the overarching narrative itself, and those that don’t should beContinue reading “By the way: the Chekhov’s gun and the science article”

Talking scicomm at NCBS – II

I was invited to speak to the students of the annual science writing workshop conducted at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, for the second year (first year talk’s notes here). Some interesting things we discussed: 1. Business of journalism: There were more questions from this year’s batch of aspiring science writers about the economicsContinue reading “Talking scicomm at NCBS – II”

Caution: This piece contains a lot of mentions of the word 'jargon'.

When writing one of my first pieces for The Hindu, I remember being called out for using a lot of jargon. While the accusation itself may have been justified, the word my supervisor chose as an example of the problem was surprising: “refraction”. He wanted me to spell it out in 10 words or soContinue reading “Caution: This piece contains a lot of mentions of the word 'jargon'.”