The Best Australian Science Writing 2017
NewSouth, $29.99 pb, 291 pp, 9781742235554
It is a common misconception that scientists are not writers. As Professor Emma Johnston states in her foreword, writing is a fundamental part of the scientific process and innumerable volumes of scientific journals are published each year. These papers often employ dry, opaque language decipherable only by other scientists, so science journalists wade through these volumes, distilling and translating the latest, most exciting science into language that is accessible and appealing to non-specialist readers. Recent financial cuts to newsrooms have triggered the shedding of subject-specific writers, including science journalists. As a result, the quality and quantity of informed science journalism in Australia has been in decline, despite the dire need for public engagement with scientific ideas and policy. In this context, anthologies such as this are especially significant.