‘Bee’ Reviewed: The Best of the Best from 2001

This book, The Best of the Best American Science Writing is just chock-full of what we love on this blog (in case you missed it, that’s science and writing)! If you missed my first review of the two essays selected from the year 2000, check it out here. The year 2001 had two philosophical essays – “Bioscience, Guided by Ethics, Can Lift Up the Poor” by Freeman J. Dyson and “Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought” by the late evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayer. Dyson’s essay was short and, in my opinion, inspirational if frustratingly vague. It was the kind of sweeping rhetoric one Read more…

DIY MFA Part 5: Handling Rejection

The dreaded rejection, the abhorrent failure. I’ve been doing it a lot lately, which means that it’s a good thing we’re up to the ‘Fail Better’ section of the DIY MFA curriculum. The whole acronym Pereira has for FAILing better is really helpful, but today I’m just going to focus on the ‘F’. Failing has always been hard for me; at the risk of sounding appallingly obnoxious, I’ve been good enough at enough things in life that I was able to avoid failing for a long, long while and still be very busy. I skirted things that were important to Read more…

Grad School Orientation

This past week was Drexel’s graduate student orientation and boy was it a whirlwind; I’m still tired – though with a crazy weekend, and Week 1 jumpstarting, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Grad school kicked off with your typical orientation fare – talks by big wigs at the college, distribution of lots of pamphlets about resources, and an overwhelming amount of nervous students scarfing down free food and trying to be social. We’re gems, every one of us. The Grad College waxed poetic about interdisciplinary studies (my ears perked up – really?), we were told how difficult our studies Read more…

More on Communicating Science to Skeptics

In June I made a post about ‘mis-trusting science’ in response to an article/commencement speech published in The New Yorker by Atul Gawande; Gawande is a pretty big name in science-writing, having both been published in and been an editor for The Best American Science Writing series (and his work was even picked to be in THE BEST of the best, too!). Given that he’s a pretty preeminent science-communicator, you’d think that he’d have the dirt on how to communicate science… but his speech has been torn apart by other communicators for a wide variety of reasons. In my post I argued that Gawande Read more…

‘Bee’ Reviewed: The Life of Galileo

This week on ‘Bee’ Reviewed we have a fictional but historical science play – The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht*. Similar to Michael Frayn’s famous Copenhagen, Brecht seeks to imagine the historical life of a scientist – though he extrapolates beyond one isolated moment and portrays a fictional accounting of most of Galileo’s life. The book follows his early years with an apprentice, his controversy with the church and subsequent house arrest for supporting the heliocentric theory of the universe, and finally his last act of defiance, the dissemination of his collected scientific work. The play has received both praise and criticism Read more…

Biopoetics: Sunleaves

First published in Gandy Dancer, 4.2, Spring 2016. As a new feature, you can now hear me read aloud the poem here and I’ve updated the past Biopoetics posts with their readings. This poem is a lot more abstract and less concrete-science than other past poems, but it deals with the season of ‘fall’ for trees. When I first began working on this poetry series and thinking about trees more deeply, I came to the conclusion that trees wouldn’t obey our seasons. So I created what I thought were important ‘seasons’ for trees: Sunleaves, Deepnight, Sapriver, Budbreak, and Windborne. Sunleaves occurs Read more…

Science v. Poetry in History

Recently I wrote a post about Ada Lovelace, a new idol of mine because she: Was the first computer programmer Was a sassy woman who hung out with Charles Darwin Coined the term ‘Poetical Science’ Ada Lovelace’s poetical science was a revolutionary way of thinking – and it may still be too revolutionary for most modern intellectuals. Dr. Betty Toole is a Lovelace scholar and, in reading her paper ‘ADA LOVELACE’S POETICAL SCIENCE‘, I came across some fascinating information about the contentious history of poetry and science that I thought I would share with you. Beginning in Greece: According to Toole, the Read more…

‘Bee’ Reviewed: Wicked Bugs

This week on ‘bee’ reviewed is a really fun book  – an easy read for most anyone to get into, today we’re looking at Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart. I love Stewart’s work (she also wrote Wicked Plants and was selected to be this years editor of The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2016), I’m admittedly fascinated by bugs, and Stewart signed my copy when my mom bought it from her (thanks mom!), so I may be a tad biased but seriously, I promise this book is for everyone. The book begins with a cheerful warning: We are outnumbered! and indeed, we are with Read more…

DIY MFA Part 4: Goal Oriented

I thought it was time for another DIY MFA post where I talk about the book’s content (there’s been so much science + writing going on in my life recently that I’ve struggled to find time to fit in regular posts!) and I thought I’d share what I love most about this book – it starts off strong with organization and goals! If you’re a writer who likes structure, this book is so for you. Chapters 2 + 3 are all about how to organize your writing goals (you know, the kind of thing that’s necessary to really make progress on your work). Now, Read more…

The Poetical Science of Ada Lovelace

I’m currently researching British poets from 1700-1816 for a Regency period book I’m toying with; in my research I came across Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace, the daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron, who is the world’s first computer programmer. Beyond being fascinated by this woman in science narrative, I was also intrigued by what Lovelace described as ‘poetical science’. Pushed into math and science (and away from her father’s ‘insane poetry’) from a young age by her mother, Lovelace nevertheless aimed to bring poetry and science together to create something that pushed the boundaries of what either discipline could Read more…