Sarah Lawrence College
Physics Today Science Writing Intern
American Institute of Physics
The adage goes, “Journalism is what somebody doesn’t want you to print. The rest is advertising.” The idea is that reporting should exclusively be a tool of sticking it to the man, and articles that do anything less are a waste of time. That puts science journalism in an awkward position: there isn’t some shadowy figure with a vested interest in Physics Today not publishing the latest developments in quantum tunneling. Should it be considered free advertising for scientists? This presentation will draw on my (admittedly limited) experience with science reporting to discuss where reporting on science fits, and how it squares with the often machismo-laced mindset of news reporting. Since my position is a new one, this presentation aims to be both a retrospective of my time at Physics Today and a how-to/guidebook/survival guide for my successor.
I’m a recent graduate from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, with what they tell me is an incredibly useful degree in Liberal Arts. What it doesn’t say on that wildly expensive piece of paper is that I’ve had the good fortune to study physics through many different lenses, from history to philosophy. Beyond academics, I directed my school’s Shakespeare group and edited the news section of its student paper.
I’ve come a long way (more literally than metaphorically) from my hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico, but science writing has always stuck with me. I love communicating the complex ideas at the heart of prickly physics issues. I’ve tried to carry my curiosity for the things that make the world tick through a long list of odd jobs in physics—TA, tutor, research assistant, the list goes on. I’m thrilled and honored to be able to carry that curiosity with me to Physics Today this summer.