Best American Science Writing Essays

Best American Science Writing Essays-79
She’s also begun a career as a crime fiction writer, with a series of novels based on the real adventures of an early 20 century trio of New Jersey sisters, starting with “Girl Waits with Gun” and followed by this fall’s “Lady Cop Makes Trouble.” In addition, she’s this year’s guest editor of the “Best American Science and Nature Writing,” which was published last week.Stewart’s 2016 edition is the latest in an acclaimed anthology series from Houghton Mifflin now celebrating its 16th year of publication.

She’s also begun a career as a crime fiction writer, with a series of novels based on the real adventures of an early 20 century trio of New Jersey sisters, starting with “Girl Waits with Gun” and followed by this fall’s “Lady Cop Makes Trouble.” In addition, she’s this year’s guest editor of the “Best American Science and Nature Writing,” which was published last week.Stewart’s 2016 edition is the latest in an acclaimed anthology series from Houghton Mifflin now celebrating its 16th year of publication.

“This is one of the most exciting times in the history of science,” New York Times-bestselling author Sam Kean proclaims in his introduction to The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018. But there are more scientists making more discoveries in more places about more things than ever before.” The twenty-six pieces assembled here chart the full spectrum of those discoveries.

From the outer reaches of space, to the mysteries of the human mind, to the changing culture in labs and universities across the nation, we see time and again the sometimes rocky, sometimes revelatory road to understanding, and along the way catch a glimpse of all that’s left to learn.

Many of the contributions come from the Atlantic and the New Yorker and too few are from lesser-known publications, but California Sunday Magazine’s Sophie Brickman writes with aplomb in “The Squeeze” about several Silicon Valley companies trying to design and market a modernized breast pump.

Veering into personal territory, Caitlin Kuehn’s “Of Mothers and Monkeys” juxtaposes her mother’s battle with cancer with her own ethical struggles as a laboratory assistant experimenting on animals.

I hope that readers, writers, and editors will nominate their favorite articles for next year's anthology at

The criteria for submissions and deadlines, and the address to which entries should be sent, can be found in the "news and announcements" forum on my web site.

What about the question of diversity in contributors?

We’ve had many conversations in the community of science journalists about the fact that the field can feel overwhelmingly white, and about how — and when — we can improve that.

Really unless you get an essay on “My life as an African-American astronomer,” it is really difficult. I think talking about the lack of diversity needs to be the responsibility of white people.

So it’s a messy and imperfect process, but it was really important to be to do my best. I went through great publications like Wired or National Geographic, trying to identify the ethnicity of anyone who had contributed in the last 12 months. I don’t think it’s the responsibility of say, African American science writers, to make this case. The responsibility of being editor was something that I felt so keenly. It makes a difference to the writers who were included, I know.

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