ScienceWriters 2010 draws a record crowd to Yale University

ScienceWriters2010, hosted by Yale University Nov. 5-9, drew a record crowd of nearly 600 National Association of Science Writers members and other science journalists for sessions on such topics as managing a freelance business and creating web video, and science sessions on the Gulf oil spill, risk perception in a partisan world, the perils of studying climate change, and many other science topics.

CASW’s New Horizons in Science conference, following the NASW program, featured a special session commemorating CASW’s 50th anniversary in which three eminent senior scientists talked about where we’ve been and where we’re headed. Lee Hood, one of the pioneers of systems biology, reviewed his career and shared his vision of medicine in the 21st century. Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences and a long-time climate researcher, gave us a similar from-the-mountaintop view of climate change research. And Michael Turner of the University of Chicago delivered what must be the funniest cosmology talk I’ve ever heard, without shortchanging us on substance.

Many of the writers and reporters at the meeting participated in lunch-with-the-scientist sessions on Sunday, in which they were treated to small presentations on research by two dozen or so Yale researchers. Yale improved this event enormously by putting each table in a separate classroom to allow for quiet discussion unimpaired by the din of conversation from surrounding tables. That’s a feature we will keep.

You can get a sense of the meeting by searching Twitter for #sciwri10. That stream is quickly becoming a useful and entertaining journal of the meeting–again, something we hope to expand and improve upon next year.

As always, we welcome your suggestions for ways to improve the meeting. And if you couldn’t attend this year, we hope to see you next October at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. —Paul Raeburn