A voyage of discovery: how the best science writers keep you enthralled | Ed Yong

Monday, April 9, 2012 - 07:32 in Biology & Nature

Rather than being laden from the outset with jargon, good writing will draw readers in and reward them for their attentionEnter the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize in association with the Guardian and the ObserverScientific papers aren't known for their catchy titles. Here's a typical example: "Ancestral capture of syncytin-Car1, a fusogenic endogenous retroviral envelope gene involved in placentation and conserved in Carnivora."A good science writer could tell you what each of those technical words meant, or translate them into their everyday equivalents. They would also explain the concepts encapsulated by those words, and why they deserve your attention. And a great science writer might start with something like this: "If not for a virus, none of us would ever be born."That's how Carl Zimmer began a piece about ancient viruses that inserted their genes into the DNA of our ancestors. Many of these viral genes have become useless junk,...

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