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EGL 27 W — Science Writing for a General Audience: From Concept to Publication

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Jun 24—Aug 2
Drop Deadline: Jun 27
Unit: 1
Tuition: $575
Instructor(s): Jason Silverstein
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is June 27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is July 2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Summer
Date(s)
Jun 24—Aug 2
6 weeks
Drop By
Jun 27
1 Unit
Fees
$575
Instructor(s):
Jason Silverstein
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is June 27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is July 2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. — Carl Sagan

The task before the science writer is a tall one: to tell the stories not only of incremental developments and dazzling discoveries, but also of science and society, all while keeping in mind an audience of ordinary humans with limited time and background knowledge. This course will teach you how to write about science for a general audience and will help you turn your idea into a publication. In the beginning, we will learn how to find stories (not topics), do legwork for interviews, and conduct background research on scientific studies. Next, we will turn to finding editors and crafting an effective pitch. Finally, we will focus on crafting the piece and finding creative solutions to the unique problems of science writing, including how to translate unbearable jargon into simple prose while embracing the uncertainty of science. Throughout, we will closely read works by Sagan, Oliver Sacks, Elizabeth Kolbert, Atul Gawande, Rebecca Solnit, and others. By the end of the course, students will have learned each step of writing and publishing about science, and will have written a pitch and workshopped an essay.

Jason Silverstein, Lecturer and Writer-in-Residence, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Jason Silverstein is a regular contributor to VICE’s health channel, Tonic. He has written for The Atlantic, the New Republic, The New York Times, The Guardian, and others. His first book, The Root of All Good and Evil, is forthcoming. Silverstein received a PhD in anthropology from Harvard and a master’s in religion, ethics, and politics from Harvard Divinity School.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)