Unit 1: Science and Science Writing Discussion

Read Jerome Groopman's introduction to The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2008 (xi-xx). As he describes his own path to becoming a science writer, he writes,

I suspect the editor knew that scientists are schooled in the relationship between structure and function, so he took the time to explain the 'three pillars' of narrative's 'architecture' and how they support a solid plane of science writing. First there was what he called 'the argument,' meaning the overarching theme. Second was the 'protagonists,' meaning the voices that would articulate the theme. And third was 'cinema.' This proved to be the hardest pillar to erect. 'Cinema' meant using words to paint pictures in the mind of the reader, so that she felt she had to entered the page and was standing with me at the patient's bedside in a moment of crisis or peering into the microscope when the biopsy revealed a cluster of cancer cells. (xiii)

Consider this idea of three pillars in terms of other pieces of science and nature writing you have read. You are welcome to consider books. articles, or news articles as examples. Do believe this quote describes the necessary elements of successful science and nature writing? Why or why not? How should scientists connect with their audiences in writing? Does a science writer need to use different skills to connect with both lay readers and other scientists?

Response due 5/24.