My name is Chris Emery. Welcome to my site on science writing.
Writing about science is a deep field and the practitioner can always learn and improve. Experience breeds an intuition that won’t come from reading alone.
But reading can serve as a starting point, for the beginner looking for initial guidance or for the experienced professional looking to polish her craft. That is the raison dêtre for this website.
I’ve observed that there aren’t many places that an aspiring science writer, journalist, or scientist looking to build their communications skills can go to learn these basics. There are books about science writing out there, but nothing that I’ve come across that quickly and clearly lays out a basic framework. So I’ve set out to do that.
My inspiration, to a certain extent, is the venerable book The Elements of Style, a short but insightful guide used by many a writer to make their work clearer, punchier, better. While Elements is arguably outdated and overly prescriptive in places, it launched many a writer on a path to improvement, providing advice that was clear, concrete, and concise.
I hope to bring those characteristics to bear on this website to provide a guide and reference that the reader can consume quickly and painlessly, yet also come away feeling satisfied at having learned something new and useful.
For mere mortals, science can be bewildering and intimidating. That apprehension of grappling with science extends into the ranks of professional writers as well. I’ve had numerous colleagues, both in journalism and public relations, who respected and appreciated science writing but were nonetheless intimidated by the beat.
Fortunately, I was young enough when I started writing about science to proceed with confidence that far outpaced my ability, or else I, too, might have thrown in the towel. Trial and error – lots of error – taught me that science has a structure, similar to the way sports have rules, and that once you understand that structure, it all makes a lot more sense.
With time and millions of keystrokes, I have identified basic elements, essential concepts, and practices for communicating science, whether particle physics or ornithology or brain research, in a clear and engaging manner. My goal with this website is to convey to you what I know and how I work as concisely and clearly as possible.
With that said, a good place to go from here is my post on What is Science Writing?