The love of writing, or the love of science?

Science writing is hard. Most scientists would rather focus on…well, science… and most writers do not want to spend the copious amounts of time required to attain the knowledge necessary to properly write about science. It takes a special person to delve deep into quantum mechanics along with cell biology in order to report on new cancer therapies,  however, some people do. Most scientists do not study study science unless they love it, or have a passion for it. Those scientists that turn “science writers” are a unique breed that love both the science and the writing process.

“Stephen Jay Gould, a professor of zoology at Harvard University, and one of the most prolific scientist/authors, sums it up this way: “All the clichEs–that it’s based on a desire to communicate, to better educate the public, which funds scientific research; that those of us who can do it should be doing it; that it’s a responsibility, a duty, and a challenge; that reaching a bigger audience is the job of any intellectual–I believe all that, but it’s not the primary reason for writing. Quite simply, I love to write.””*

So, it seems you need more than just a desire to educate the public and gain federal or private funding for research. The main motivation and inspiration for successful science writers must be the desire to write.

*Quote from the following website: http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/12329/title/Popular-Science-Writing-Requires-Inspiration–Perspiration/

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