Ian Gibbins reviews 'The Best Australian Science Writing 2016' edited by Jo Chandler

Ian Gibbins reviews 'The Best Australian Science Writing 2016' edited by Jo Chandler

The Best Australian Science Writing 2016

edited by Jo Chandler

NewSouth $29.99 pb, 308 pp, 9781742235035

Most scientists are writers. Notwithstanding the distortions induced by the ‘publish or perish’ imperative of funding agencies and academic appointment committees, the publication of original research is fundamental to the scientific process. Depending on the field, a successful scientist may write a hundred or more publications over his or her career. In terms of sheer numbers of words, this is equivalent to two or three full-length novels.

The best Australian science is published in a daunting array of international journals, mostly discipline-specific, but some, such as Nature and Science, cover the whole scientific enterprise. So far in 2016, more than 100 articles with Australian co-authors have appeared in Nature, and around sixty in Science. Modern science is highly collaborative, and not all co-authors necessarily end up with text in the final articles. Nevertheless, this output represents a significant contribution to the leading edge of scientific literature.

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Ian Gibbins

Ian Gibbins

Ian Gibbins is a poet, electronic musician, and video artist, having been a neuroscientist for more than thirty years and Professor of Anatomy for twenty of them. His poetry covers diverse styles and media, including electronic music, video, performance, art exhibitions, and public installations, and has been widely published in print and online, along with three books: Urban Biology (2012); The Microscope Project: How things work (2014) and Floribunda (2015), the last two in collaboration with visual artists. He also has a key role in organising the Adelaide Festival of Ideas.

Published in December 2016, no. 387

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