Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Exploring the Craft of the Science Writer

Instructor: Diane Melroy

"Science writing, at its best, imaginatively explores the intersection between the external world of nature and the internal world of the human spirit…Science writing is about the uneasy and often tortured relationship of the human species with nature." - Richard Preston, editor of The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007

In this course we will read essays, newspaper stories, and articles on various topics in science, by some of the best science writers in the business. These works were written to inform and amuse a wide audience; they are not directed at scientists and for the most part were not written by scientists. We will use them as a jumping-off point for exploring scientific topics of interest to non-scientists. We will start with two great compilations: The Best American Science Writing 2009, edited by Natalie Angier and Jessie Cohen, and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009, edited by Elizabeth Kolbert. These are collections of fascinating short articles, taken from all types of publications, on topics as diverse as brain function, genetically modified organisms, animals, computers, human nature, and the environment. All types of science, nature, and technology are fair game; students will be able to follow or develop their own interests during the course. Assessment will be based on written assignments, presentations, and class participation. This course is suitable for either non-science or science students; a science background is not needed or expected.

This course will be offered fully online in Fall 2010 with no scheduled class meetings.

Last Update: February 10, 2017