[Hancock] = Buy at Amazon Hancock, Elise. Ideas Into Words: Mastering the Craft of Science Writing. John Hopkins University Press, 2003. ISBN: 9180801873300. 

Ses # Topics Readings

Class Overview and Introductions

Writing for a General Audience

Buy at Amazon Zinsser, William. “Science, Technology and Nature.” In On Writing Well. Harper Perennial, 2016. ISBN: 9780060891541.

Strogatz, Steven. “On Math,” first three entries.  The New York Times.

Overbye, Dennis “Gravitational Waves Detected, Confirming Einstein’s Theory.” The New York Times, Feb. 11, 2016.


The Pleasures and Challenges of Science Writing

The Importance of Metaphors in Science Writing

Describing and Explaining: Clarity, Liveliness

Patel, Rinku. "Bugged." Popular Science, July 7, 2015.

Klein, Joanna. “How Layers in a Latte Form.” The New York Times, Dec. 12, 2017.


Focus, Accuracy, and Making it Fresh

A Writer's Voice

No assigned readings
4 Workshop: The Science of Everyday Life

Buy at Amazon Patterson, Kevin. “The Patient Predator.” In The Best American Science Writing 2003. Harper Perennial, 2003. ISBN: 9780060936518.

Gawande, Atul. “The Pain Perplex.” The New Yorker, Sept. 21, 1998.

[Hancock] Chapters 1–2.


Attitudes Towards Writing

What Do We Mean by Revision?

Tafton, Anne. “New way to stop the bleeding: Nanoscale biological coating developed at MIT could prevent battlefield deaths.” MIT News Office. January 10, 2012.

Hardesty, Larry. “Imaging with an ‘optical brush’.” MIT News Office. February 12, 2016.

Chu, Jennifer. “Microfluidics from LEGO bricks.” MIT News Office. January 30, 2018.

[Hancock] Ch. 5, “The Nitty-Gritty” + Ch. 6, “Refining Your Draft.”


Elements of News Writing

Reading a Scientific Journal Article, Part 1

The three student-written profiles in the 2013 Angles online magazine of exemplary writing.

DeNucci, Andrew. “Spacesuits and Drones.” Angles (2016).

Hinojosa, Karina. “Light up and Clean up.” Angles (2017).

[Hancock] Ch. 3, "Research and the Interview."


The Profile: Writing about Science by Writing about Scientists

Anderson, Kevin and Glen Peters. “The Trouble with Negative Emissions.” Science 354, no. 6309 (2016): 182–193.

Yuen, C.M., C.A. Rodrigues, et al. “Map the Gap.” Public Health Action 5, no. 1 (2015): 45–58.


From Research to News

Work on News Stories

No Assigned Readings
9 Workshop: News Stories

Stickgold, Robert. “Sleep On It!Scientific American 313 (2015): 52–57.

Levenson, Thomas. “Antibiotics Gave Us Routine Surgery. Growing Resistance Could Change Everything.” The Boston Globe, Dec. 2, 2017.


Stickgold & Levenson: Elements of a Research-Based Essay

The Research Process: Note-Taking

Gladwell, Malcom. “The Engineer’s Lament.” The New Yorker, May 4, 2015.

Gladwell: Describing How Engineers Think

Incorporating Many Kinds of Evidence

Schulz, Kathryn. “The Really Big One.” The New Yorker, July 20, 2015.

Complex Issues: Keeping Readers With You; Getting at the Bigger Picture

The Research Process: Why We Cite

Knowles, Milo. “Fusion: Joining the Quest for renewable Energy’s Holy Grail.” Angles (2016).

Sugrue, Rosie. “Fukushima and the Bogey-man.”Angles (2011).

Lee, Minyi. “Anorexia: A Matter of Life and Breadth.” Angles (2014).

Walzer, Dalia. “Our Guts, Our Bodies, Ourselves.” Angles (2014).

13 Library Session to Work on Investigative Essay No Assigned Readings
14 Workshop: Profile Article No Assigned Readings

The Research Process: Citing, Quoting, and Paraphrasing

Writing and Structure

Reading a Scientific Journal Article, Part 2

[Hancock] Ch. 4 and 7.

Organizing a Longer Article

Incorporating Sources and Voices

Greenwood, Veronique. "My Great-Great-Aunt Discovered Francium. And It Killed Her." The New York Times, July 12, 2014.
17 Presenting Controversy: For Our Consideration: Earth or Mars? No Assigned Readings
18 Workshop: Investigative Essay No Assigned Readings
19 Workshop: Investigative Essay

Moor, Robert. “Nor Any Drop to Drink? Why the Great Lakes Face a Murky Future.” The New York Times, May 23, 2017.

Frank, Adam. “Dreaming in Code.” The New York Times, Mar. 7, 2014.

Thubron, Colin. "The Invention of Nature, by Andrea Wulf." The New York Times, Sept. 25, 2015.

Sobel, Dava. “Science’s Invisible Women.” The New York Times, Mar. 19, 2018.

20 The Book Review: A Useful Genre! No Assigned Readings
21 Revision Issues No Assigned Readings
22 Revision Issues No Assigned Readings
23 Other Media: Radio & Video No Assigned Readings
24 Revision Issues No Assigned Readings
25 Book Talks No Assigned Readings

Sharing Favorite Writing

Summing Up and Reflecting

No Assigned Readings