Science from the Source - Best of Scientist Blogs

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Few scientists write about their work for the popular audience, but here are some of my favorites.

A journalist, social entrepreneur, and friend of mine, Daniel Bachhuber, recently asked me for a list of good blogs by scientists. I began to reply via email, but realized that a question like this is perfectly suited for response via more public channels for two reasons:

(1) A crowd-sourced answer is better than mine alone. I have a limited set of interests and a limited awareness of what’s out there. Suggestions from others are encouraged and welcome! (2) Others might also be interested in my (and any commenter’s) answer. Matters of temporary or private interest belong in emails, but those of public or more permanent interest belong on the interwebs.

The following blogs are by active scientists who frequently discuss their own research and were selected on public accessibility, relevance, and writing clarity. Feel free to add more!

Asymptotia (physicist Clifford Johnson) - USC string theorist who writes on the physics of everyday phenomena, science in the media, how science is done, his own research, and public science events in the Los Angeles area. A superb writer and great educator (I took an undergraduate Electricity & Magnetism course with him)

Backreaction (physicists Sabine “Bee” Hossenfelder and Stefan Scherer) - husband & wife team who blog on science and culture, scientific philosophy, research questions and issues, the physics of everyday phenomena, and links to good science articles. Bee is a theoretical physicist at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada. Stefan works in scientific publishing in Frankfurt, Germany.

Built on Facts (physicist Matt Springer) - Texas A&M PhD candidate who blogs on the physics of everyday phenomena and offers careful explanations of basic physics and math concepts. He also writes creatively on topics such as Technology and Middle Earth and his Sunday Function series on common mathematical equations in physics is alone worth the (free) price of admission.

ScienceGeekGirl (physicist Stephanie Chasteen) - UC-Boulder postdoc in Physics Education Research who writes frequently on improving science education as well as the physics of everyday phenomena and science in the media. Although her current research is in physics education and not necessarily “physics” itself, she is a published PhD who knows her physics and her blog is a must for anyone interested in science education.

Shtetl-Optimized (computer scientist/mathematician Scott Aaronson) - MIT quantum information theorist whose blog offers a nice insight into the life of a mathematician (the field of scientists that seems to have taken most reluctantly to blogs and public outreach in general). Some posts are quite technical but he’s a very funny guy who writes sporadically on a variety of subjects. It’s worth watching his blog for pieces of interest.

FightAging! (anonymous biotech researchers) - updates on the most recent research in extending the human lifespan as well as discussions of the ethical implications. The authorship seems to be a collaboration but I’m not quite sure. I have an email request in for this info and will update if I get a reply.

Michael Nielson (physicist Michael Nielsen) - MIT quantum information theorist who was an early pioneer in the field but has now moved on to writing a book on the future of science. His posts on online science and the future of scientific publishing are the best on the interwebs.

CognitiveDaily (psychologist Greta Munger and writer Dave Munger) - husband & wife team who offer interesting and accessible updates on current research in to how humans think. They often apply the insights of science to current events or cultural phenomena.

Good Math, Bad Math (computer scientist/mathematician Mark Chu-Carroll) - Google software engineer and another rare mathematician who write clearly on beautiful mathematical topics such as chaos. He comments frequently on bad science, science and culture, and science in the media.

John Hawks Weblog (anthropologist John Hawks) - University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who writes adeptly and throughly on current research into evolution and biology. Along with Clifford and Bee’s mentioned above, his blog is one of the most well-written.

Though his blog is beyond inaccessible for the math illiterate, Fields Medal mathematician Terry Tao must be mentioned as one of the leaders in actually putting his current research online. Few have been brave enough to update so frequently.

There are plenty more blogs by scientists listed at ScienceBlogs which are well-organized by interest.

Which other scientist bloggers are worthy of mention?