Science writing: what have I been up to, and what’s next?

Picture unrelated, just something I got up to in 2015

It’s a new(ish) year, I’ve just got back from a great week with Focus magazine, so it’s time to take stock and post an update on the science writing I’ve been doing, and give you my ideas for 2016.

Focus Magazine and UWE SciComm

Science Focus logoIt all started when I won the UWE and Science Focus magazine’s science writing competition for my article “The Spectrum in your Pocket“. As part of this prize, I spent a day with the UWE Science Communication Masters group. I picked up some great tips for writing press releases, and about the composition of science magazines.

This was to come in rather handy given the other part of the prize was a week’s work experience with the BBCs science magazine, Focus.

During my time with Focus I wrote some snippets for next month’s magazine. I also spend a fair amount of time updating images and standfirsts for the 700+ Science Q&As – some of which date back from 2009, when the web operated rather differently!

I wrote some content for their website too:

Did a tiny star power one of the biggest bangs in the Universe?

Are these animals cute or ugly? We just can’t decide!

Feedback from those in the know is critical for development. I really valued the time Dan Bennett (acting editor) took to run through The Spectrum in your Pocket with me, giving me feedback on how to tighten up my piece, optimising it for publication. This was incredibly helpful and I’ll endeavour to use his tips in my future science writing.


Love Nature LogoAround the middle of 2015 I did some nature and science writing for shiny new website Love Nature. I did some odds and sods but my work mainly focussed on “The Natural Word”, a series discussing technical terms used by natural scientists.

The Natural Word: Spyhopping

The Natural Word: Salps

Beyond X and Y: the strange world of sex strategy in the animal kingdom


SciShow logoAnother exciting direction is script writing for YouTube channel SciShow. I’m really enjoying working with them and seeing my words turn into videos. Here are a couple of vids I’ve scripted so far:

What’s next for Memetic Drift in 2016?

Memetic Drift Drifting Emily Coyte Icon**Edit: This is now pending indefinitely due to a range of other projects, including an increased level of writing for SciShow (which I’m very happy about!)**


Last year was dominated by Art of Science. This was a project I got a lot out of, chatting to researchers about their work and winning imaged for 2014 and helping out with the organisation during 2015. This year, I’m going to try something a little different.

Before that, my posts were a mixture of one-offs (e.g. domesticating foxes or terraforming other worlds) and extended series like “Animals that should be Pokémon“.

My idea this year is to write articles in trilogies, each centred on a theme considered from different angles. The first theme will be Oceans and in my head I’ll be tackling it from an environmental, an astronomical and a technological perspective in three different articles. We’ll see how it goes, but I think three posts every two months should be achievable alongside everything else.

Happy to take thoughts and feedback at any point, just let me know!

(Photo unrelated, just something else I got up to in 2015..!)

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