My Photo


  • Jen-Luc Piquant sez: "They like us! They really like us!"

    "Explains physics to the layperson and specialist alike with abundant historical and cultural references."
    -- Exploratorium ("10 Cool Sites")

    "... polished and humorous..."
    -- Physics World

    "Takes 1 part pop culture, 1 part science, and mixes vigorously with a shakerful of passion."
    -- Typepad (Featured Blog)

    "In this elegantly written blog, stories about science and technology come to life as effortlessly as everyday chatter about politics, celebrities, and vacations."
    -- Fast Company ("The Top 10 Websites You've Never Heard Of")
Blog powered by Typepad
Bookmark and Share

« shameless self-promotion | Main | festival of lasers »


You rock Jen! Great to meet you finally. Excellent description of the blog to book session. That was an important session for myself and Craig as we are outlining our own book. The panel's point about not starting a blog to promote an already written or published book was spot on. It reminds me of the "expedition blogs" in marine biology. Short term blogs set up on a university server for the purpose of promoting the researchers exploits on the high seas. And... then it ends when the cruise. Check mark next to "Broader Impacts"/outreach, call it done. Thing is there is no built in audience and the universities rarely promote these blogs.

@Kevin: That's an interesting idea: figuring out how to set up an ongoing bloggy effort for various expeditions, instead of just a single one. I guess the expeditions are too scattered though... still, if Futurity can start a consortium blog, why not?

Good luck on the book!

Great write-up Jen, and an absolute pleasure to finally meet you.

I'd agree that there's still a need for boundaries between journalism and other forms of science communication (and certainly, the Futurity part of the discussion attested to that). Perhaps blurring boundaries isn't quite the right metaphor - perhaps it's more about individuals straddling those boundaries with greater ease. So while we're clear about what constitutes journalism, blogging or what have you, we also acknowledge that it's possible for people to do all the above, almost on a case-by-case basis.

Oh and this is the book that we talked about over drinks:

People keep wanting clearly defined labels for who is a journalist and who is a blogger.

Really? Who wants that? I mean, I know there will always be some dinosaurs unable to adapt. But from what I hear (and I am journalist) everybody around me in science journalism is conscious that the boundaries are less and less clear.

One of the problems is that a lot of the scientist bloggers who are doing what journalists were doing in the past, are not paid, or have an other job. Which is certainly not good in a long-term perspective.

Everybody around you might be saying that, but it's probably a self-selecting group. :) We're in an interesting transitional period where half of folks get it, half don't. There are many meetings, conferences, organizations, etc that still do not recognize bloggers or give them press passes -- unless they also happen to be established journalists, in which case we will make the request as journalists, not as bloggers. I can understand their point of view to some extent: not all bloggers adhere to professional standards, and comping each and every blogger who asks would seriously cut into revenues for those conferences, for example.

And I don't think I'd say that "a lot of the scientist bloggers ... are doing what journalists were doing in the past." They are blogging about science, to be sure, and bringing the advantage of their expertise to the task, not to mention taking a hand in communicating directly with the public. And that's a net good in terms of getting science stories out there, although it's largely to a pre-selected audience (preaching to the converted), particularly as science coverage declines in the mainstream media. But what they are writing does not always meet the same journalistic standards partially outlined in my post (or discussed on the panel). Hence my contention that we need to be very clear about when we're writing as journalists, when as bloggers, etc.

Even those of us who cover science professionally, aren't necessarily writing to meet journalistic standards of quality on our blogs - which was my point in that last section. It is demanding to meet those standards. Good, solid professional journalism is not so easily replaced (even if it is inarguably on the decline). It is a valuable thing that has been steadily losing ground because fewer and fewer people understand its value (perhaps because there is so much poorly done reportage out there these days).

Good to see you again! Hadn't seen your '08 Bora! comments, but I've played around with interviewing scientists for blog pieces. Even with that extra, my blog posts are still mostly off-the-cuff, no editors, etc. I do it because I feel that's where I can add value to a topic that's being batted about by fellow bloggers (and blog readers) who mostly are experts in the field. I may not study *whatever it is*, but I can quickly access folks who can.

It was great getting a chance to finally meet you in person, albeit briefly! (Time seemed to really disappear quickly this year at the meeting.)

P.S. I enjoyed your session! Lots of food for thought.


Blogging is to journalism as Kerouac's "stream of conciousness" is to literature.....discuss!!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.