Many thanks to all of you, Dear Readers and C&EN editors and staff, I have been writing here for one year.
Last August 24th, we moved the Terra Sigillata blog here after its purgatory in indie WordPress land following four years at ScienceBlogs. The announcement came at the a ACS Medicinal Chemistry Lunch-and-Learn session on pharmaceutical and chemistry blogging led by Carmen Drahl at last year’s Boston meeting. the setting seemed appropriate for the launch because I was on the panel with two of my own blogging idols, Derek Lowe of In the Pipeline and Ed Silverman of Pharmalot.
In my inaugural post here last year, The Right Chemistry, I expressed my sincere thanks to Carmen and C&EN Online Editor Rachel Pepling for taking in this wayward blogger. Although I am technically a biologist, I have appreciated since my undergrad days that chemistry was central to moving forward in this field. As a pharmacologist whose previous pseudonym acknowledged Journal of Biological Chemistry founder, John Jacob Abel, I have always appreciated that my field would not be here without the efforts of synthetic chemists.
So, I hope that in the past year I have brought you a biologist’s view of – and reverence for – the discipline of chemistry.
I should also note that while Carmen and Rachel are my personal heroes, my extended family at C&EN have also been instrumental in helping me develop as a science writer.
Amanda Yarnell has been a constant source of advice and inspiration, offering freely of her time to a guy who isn’t even on staff.
I had the delightful pleasure of spending a week with Lauren Wolf at the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop and have been very impressed by how she has worked so hard to go from being a laser chemist to crafting engaging pieces in the neurosciences.
C&EN Editor-in-Chief, Rudy Baum, was kind enough to spend one-on-one time with me at the ACS Boston meeting encouraging me in both my writing and chemical education and diversity in chemistry efforts.
Carmen even hosted me for a nice visit to the C&EN HQ at ACS in Washington when I was lecturing at Johns Hopkins for Mary Knudson’s faculty writing class earlier this year. Good and patient folks like Stu Borman and Steve Ritter (Western Carolina and Wake Forest, w00t!) suffered with my n00b questions about how C&EN is put together every week. Every week! Readers have no idea what madness this entails. Robin Giroux and Cheryl Hogue took me to lunch with our venerable webmaster, Tchad Blair.
I belabor this point because I’m not sure that ACS members realize how many outstanding people are working in their professional society on behalf of the profession. Being associated with ACS has not only improved my efforts as a communicator but has paid tremendous dividends to my students in the content and quality of my lectures and assignments.
Now, tell me about you
But enough about them. I now want to know about you.
In the tradition of another of my mentors, Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science, I want to get to know you and how you happened upon this humble corner of the ether since we moved here. Several of us, as detailed by my pal DrugMonkey, ask this of you once a year or so, especially to get to know those of you who are “lurkers” – devoted readers who choose not to comment.
So, here’s the deal in Ed’s words:
“In the comments below, tell me who you are, what your background is and what you do. What’s your interest in science and your involvement with it? How did you come to this blog, how long have you been reading, what do you think about it, and how could it be improved?”
“But really, these questions are a rough guide. I’m working on the basis that what you have to say will be far more interesting than what I think you might say.”
“So say as little or as much as you like, but do say something, even if you’ve never commented before and even if you commented on the last “Who are you?” thread.”
To give you a sense of how to do this, here’s Ed’s thread of 160 responses last year.
In addition to the scientists, I am also particularly interested in stories about those of you who are in K-12 education or completely outside of the field.
Once again, many thanks to those of you who read and to those at the home office who have welcomed me here over the last year.
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