As many of you know, my blog post, “Romeo: A Lone Wolf’s Tragedy in Three Acts” was selected for publication in Scientific American’s Best Science Writing Online 2012, an anthology featuring more than 50 of the best science blog posts of 2011.

Showcasing more than fifty of the most provocative, original, and significant online essays from 2011, The Best Science Writing Online 2012 will change the way we think about science— from fluids to fungi, poisons to pirates. (Scientific American)

Well I am excited to say that the anthology was released today in the US and will be released Friday in Canada.  If you’re a regular reader here, then you’ve probably read my blog post already, but I really want to encourage you to order a copy of the book, for a couple of reasons.

First, you might be interested to see the difference between the post and the print version. Writing for the web and writing for print are two different animals.  Lots of editing (mostly by way of cutting) went into the printed piece. Blog posts are often part of an ongoing conversation.  You refer to things you said or wrote before. You might have inside jokes with your regular readers. You have illustrations or photos that may not be included in the print version. You use hyperlinks to clarify points or refer to other sources. (You are never more conscious of how much of crutch hyperlinks are until you start taking them out. )

The photo of Romeo didn’t make it into the print version.

To stand alone and work for readers who have no other context or a connection to your blog, that all needs to be cleaned up. So I spent hours working through the recommended changes from my editor at FS&G and did some of my own (somewhat obsessive) housekeeping along the way.

I was happy with my online version, but I am much more proud of the print version. I’d really like everyone to see how it came out.

And, there are 50 other reasons to buy the book — the other bloggers whose works are featured in it. If you’re not involved in the online science blogging community, you may not realize the breadth of what’s being covered out there and the quality of the writing that goes into presenting it. It’s extraordinary.

Many of the bloggers are scientists in the field, PhD candidates, professors, mathematicians, science teachers– people who are passionate about their work and who want to share that passion with others.  The other bloggers are people like me — writers or journalists who may or may not have a science background, but who are fascinated with science in general (or with a particular subset of science)and want to serve as a liaison between the scientists and the public.

In both cases, the writers who are featured in this year’s anthology (and those of previous years) all share one trait — the ability to take a scientific concept and make it into an engaging and understandable story.

So please take a moment, click through to Amazon (below) or request the book at your local independent bookstore. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Early mentions and reviews:

This really is an entertaining collection, from authors spanning the gamut from students to professors, hobbyist writers like myself to full-blown science journalists. It’s got pieces on poisons and publishing, space shuttles and sedimentary rocks, forests and fungi, and yes, genome science.

The Best Science Writing Online 2012 : A collection of fun and interesting science, from online writers around the world (Richard Wintle, The Guardian)

I can’t tell you how many times that I read a piece in this collection and thought, “I wish I wrote as well as that.” And also “I wish I’d written that.” But I can tell you that the book is a compelling, illuminating, addictive journey through science and science story telling.

The Best Science Writing Online 2012 (Deborah Blum for Knight Science Journalism at MIT)


 “A collection of solid science writing celebrating a diversity of topics, writer credentials and styles. Proof that science writing online is healthy and growing. For naive surfers, an anthology like this will help separate the wheat from the chaff.”—Kirkus (via Amazon)

“The Best Science Writing Online 2012 (Open Laboratory)” is an amazing, quite eclectic, collection of science writing, covering everything from our current understanding of genomic data in molecular biology, to the intricacies of human behavior, and even the likelihood that there are some elementary particles in physics capable of exceeding the speed of light. (John Kwok, Amazon Review)

Buy the book —



(Disclosure: those are affiliate links, so I get a small tip when you make a purchase.)