John Pickrell is an award-winning journalist and the editor of Australian Geographic magazine. He is also the author of Flying Dinosaurs: how fearsome reptiles became birds. John has worked for publications including New Scientist, Science, Science News and Cosmos.
Where do you go for great science writing?
One really great place to find a selection of nicely written and engaging science writing every year is in The Best Australian Science Writing, an anthology published annually by NewSouth, now in its sixth year. It brings together rigorous yet highly entertaining articles from a wide selection of Australia’s most talented science writers. The 2016 edition features works by top Aussie science writers Bianca Nogrady and Ashley Hay, and covers topics ranging from Ice Age lizards and gravitational waves to the nature of reality and the hunt for Ned Kelly’s head.
Why is science writing important?
Science comes into so many of the major issues society faces, and some basic science literacy and understanding is essential to make rational and informed choices. With the changing political landscape in the US right now, this is coming even clearer into focus. Unfortunately, the beliefs of many people on important issues such as climate change, evolution and vaccination are based on emotion rather than a sound understanding of the facts. Good science communicators have an important role to play in helping people to have access to easy-to-understand and engaging information about the science related to these debates. Sadly, Australia has lost many of its dedicated science journalists and editors in recent years as newspaper and other media outlets have had to cut staff. You can tell when news stories have been covered by writers with little understanding of the bigger picture.
Join John for The Secrets of Writing at the NSW Writers’ Centre, Saturday 18 February, 10am-4pm.