January 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 2)


Strong Points: Excellent potential
Weak Points: None

Here’s a novel approach to science writing. With a subtitle, “Scientists and writers need each other,” SciTalk has the rather interesting aim of opening the eyes of fiction writers to using science and scientists in their novels. This appears to have a distinctly different angle than science fiction writing, for which there is no shortage of scientific interest. Rather, the idea is about improving the image of scientists as portrayed in literature with the hope that this will, in turn, encourage young people to pursue careers in science. I like the basic idea here of attempting to destroy the stereotype of scientists as socially inept white males in lab jackets, and the plan is clever. Hundreds of fields of scientific investigation are listed and under each field, a few scientists and their research interests are listed. These scientists can then be contacted by writers and provide meaningful feedback for stories. This seems to be a win-win-win situation, as the causes of the writers, the scientists, and the readers are all advanced. A deceptively simple idea that just might make a difference.

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