Archive for November, 2011

Deborah Blum traces a poisonous history

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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Blum’s five books have immersed her in the worlds of animal rights, the psychology of affection, the neurology of sex, the search for paranormal phenomena, and the chemistry of poisons. Her best-selling book The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, published in 2010, traces […]

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How Rebecca Skloot built The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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Rebecca Skloot needs little introduction to most readers of The Open Notebook: Her book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has been a bestseller since its publication in February 2010, and she has toured the U.S. and Europe almost constantly since then talking about the book and the many issues of race, science, and privacy […]

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Lauren Gravitz relates Nobel laureate Steinman’s poignant story

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For years, journalist Lauren Gravitz had planned to write an in-depth feature on Rockefeller University physician-scientist Ralph Steinman, highlighting the dendritic cells that had been his life’s work and his efforts to use those cells to treat his own cancer. Formerly a science writer at Rockefeller, Gravitz had spoken often with Steinman and knew his […]

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Erik Vance scrutinizes a battle over dolphin rights

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Reporting from the trenches in the war over dolphin rights, freelance science writer Erik Vance relates the story of Lori Marino and Diana Reiss, dolphin researchers who have spent most of their careers as close colleagues and friends, but whose agendas diverged after Marino moved away from research on captive dolphins and immersed herself in a […]

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Ask TON: Embedded with scientists

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  Welcome back for another installment of Ask TON. (Click here to see previous installments.) Today’s question: I will be embedded with a scientist whom I will follow around for a few days. I like this person already and could be friends in a normal world. Are there strategies I could follow while reporting to remain a human […]

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John McPhee on characters, structure, titles, and facing the ‘low dread’ of writing

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Is there a science writer alive who has not been schooled by John McPhee? Both of us began our writing careers with a collection of McPhee’s books and articles on our shelves, and over the years, we’ve both returned to his works many times, for pleasure and for sustenance. Writing at the excellent blog Last Word […]

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