I’ve been a science writer for 19 years now, and it all started with a pig.
It was a fossil pig—just his tooth, really. I found it toward the end of a sweltering day walking with my head down in Tanzania’s Manonga Valley. I loved being in the field, and I loved how excited my fellow paleontologists were as they discussed the pig that might have been walking around with his own head down five million years ago.
But I did not love that tooth. As an anthropology student nearing the end of graduate school, that tooth represented everything I had started to fear about my life as a researcher. If I spend the next 40 years analyzing that tooth, I thought, will I miss out on the rest of the broad, thrilling world of science that brought me to Tanzania in the first place?
More than a decade later, I can say that I haven’t missed out. As a science writer, I’ve covered everything from nanobots to stem cells, and written for websites, magazines, museums and meetings. I get to hear about the latest discoveries across all fields, and I still get to hang out with the remarkable people who do science.
Do you have an assignment for me? I’m happy to hear about it—even if it involves pigs.