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Spotlight on Katharine Gammon ’07

In November, the Graduate Program in Science Writing managed to catch Kate Gammon,’07, between hosting a panel at the ScienceWriters 2012 annual meeting and her busy freelance schedule.  Kate writes for Nature, Wired, Popular Science,Technology Review, and many other outlets.  She is based in Santa Monica, California.  You can find her at or follow @kategammon on Twitter.


GPSW: You were an anthropology major in your undergraduate degree. What made you gravitate to science writing?

Kate: I’ve always been fascinated by science, and I was raised by two scientists. So even as I studied anthropology, I was always toeing the line between humanities and science – often looking at scientific questions from an anthropological view. I spent a whole summer trying to construct a picture of a whole Neanderthal lifestyle from the wear marks on a single tooth. Sometimes, writing is a similar act. And I still use the toolkit of cultural anthropology when I go into an unknown reporting situation. It sometimes helps to think about a community of scientists as an unknown tribe, and I need to quickly understand their worldview, their specific lingo, and also to evaluate group dynamics. Read more…

Seth Mnookin wins NASW Science in Society Award

Science Writing professor Seth Mnookin has been awarded the 2012 NASW Science in Society Award for his book “The Panic Virus”. The National Association of Science Writers established the Science in Society Journalism Awards to provide recognition for investigative or interpretive reporting about the sciences and their impact on society.

From the press release, “In Panic Virus (Simon & Schuster, 2012), Mnookin tells the story of the dire consequences of the 1998 publication of a subsequently discredited paper alleging that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine might cause autism. One judge commented that Mnookin “neatly dissects the issues behind the anti-vaccine movement, illuminating this intersection of science, politics and public health. The story is beautifully told, the people in it are compellingly rendered, and the missteps on all sides of the vaccine question told in clear detail…. In the end, the book offers both a telling look at how human beings can complicate even the most straight-forward attempts to protect public health and a warning of the risks to all of us when we choose fear- mongering over good science.”

The award will be presented at the ScienceWriters2012 meeting in October.

Grace Chua ’08 named 2012 Environmental Journalist of the Year

Grace Chua was named 2012 Environmental Journalist of the Year by the Singapore Environmental Council. This is the inaugural year of the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards. Her story, “Group told to clear out ‘farm’ on state land” from the Singapore Straits-Times was also shortlisted for the Coca-Cola Environmental Story of the Year.

From the press release: The Singapore Environment Council’s inaugural Asian Environmental Journalism Awards (AEJ Awards) aims to recognise and reward excellence in environmental journalism at all levels of society.

From passionate citizen journalists, to outstanding professional journalists, to the environmental attitudes of overall media organisations, the AEJ Awards highlight exceptional journalistic work, and encourage continued high-quality coverage of environmental issues in Asia. The awards are open to Asian journalists, as well as journalists working in and writing about Asian countries.
For more information about the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards, please visit

Spotlight on Andrew Moseman ’08

Andrew MosemanIn June, the MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing chatted with Andrew Moseman, ’08. Andrew is the online editor at Popular Mechanics. He has also worked at Discover Magazine and blogged for the Big Think.  You can check him out on the web at and on Twitter at @Agmoseman.





GPSW: First tell us about where you live, and what made you decide on New York City.
I live in beautiful Brooklyn, New York, above an adorable family and down the street from Prospect Park. New York City just happened to me. I’d never lived in the Northeast prior to attending MIT, but during the harried final days of internship searching during our spring semester, I landed one with the Web department at Discover Magazine, which is NYC-based. So, in May 2008, I presented my paper at Thesis Day on a Friday, moved to New York on a Sunday (which involved an Amtrak breakdown in Rhode Island, don’t ask), and started work on the Monday. Been here ever since.

Read more…

Spotlight on Matthew Hutson ’03

In April 2012, we spoke with Matthew Hutson, class of 2003 – the first class of the Graduate Program in Science Writing.  Matt lives in New York and has just published his first book, The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy and Sane.  He writes for Wired, Discover, Scientific American Mind, and The New York Times Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, @silverjacket, or check out his website at


GPSW: First, tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to since you graduated in 2003.  

Matt: After I graduated in 2003, I spent six months at Fermilab writing about physics and life around the lab. From there, I went to San Diego for two years to work at Sally Ride Science as their in-house science writer, producing books and newsletters and electronic content for middle-school kids (mostly girls). Then I moved to New York to be the news editor at Psychology Today. I spent four years there before leaving to focus on my book. I enjoyed the process of book writing so much that as soon as I finished, I started working on another proposal, which I’ve been researching for most of the past year. Over the past six years I’ve also done a bit of freelancing: Wired, Discover, Scientific American Mind, The New York Times Magazine, etc.

Read more…

Erico Guizzo ’03 Wins Second Neal Award

Erico Guizzo ’03 has won his second Neal Award in a row, for the IEEE Spectrum Automaton blog.  The award is considered the “Pulitzer Prize for business media” and is a prestigious and sought-after honor.  Congratulations to Erico for defending his title!

On an Irish Island

Robert Kanigel’s most recent book On an Irish Island was released on February 7, 2012.

 Called by Indie Bound “A love letter to a vanished way of life”, the book brings to life the people and language on the Great Blasket Island in Western Ireland just as their time there is ending.  The Barnes & Noble Review find that  “In passages that have a wonderful, ecstatic quality, Kanigel traces Thomson’s notion that Homer had come alive on Great Blasket.”

On An Irish Island
Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
ISBN-13: 9780307269591

Robert Kanigel interviewed in Current Science

Professor Robert Kanigel was interviewed in the December issue of Current Science magazine about his work and career.  Have a read!







Spotlight on Genevieve Wanucha ’09

In December, the Graduate Program in Science Writing interviewed Genevieve Wanucha ’09 about her life and work. Genevieve is a freelancer, primarily working on her first book (due 2013). Her work has appeared in SEED Magazine, Technology Review, Nature Medicine and on the NPR website. Her website is

GPSW: Where do you live and do you like it there?

Genevieve: I currently live in the Boston area. It’s a very special place. Home to the psychology department at Northeastern University, the world class neurological researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the brain imaging collaborations of MIT and Harvard, this city provides near limitless science writing material.

Read more…

Spotlight on Emily Anthes ’06


In September, the Graduate Program in Science Writing spoke with Emily Anthes ’06 about her life and work since graduation. Emily is a freelancer, living in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in Scientific American Mind, the Boston Globe, Popular Science, Discover, New York Magazine, Popular Mechanics, Seed and more. She is the author of The Instant Egghead Guide: The Mind and writes the blog Wonderland for the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Blogs.  Her website is



GPSW: How do you find living and working in New York City, the Media Hub of the Universe?
Emily: It’s great. I always thought that I wasn’t the “New York Type,” but I’ve discovered, of course, that there is no one “New York Experience.” You can shape it to fit who you are. I live in Brooklyn, where I bump into writers (of all sorts) at every turn. Writing can be a lonely enterprise, but there are so many other writers in the city—and even in my neighborhood—that it creates a real sense of community.
Read more…