I am a freelance journalist in the science metropolis of Boston. Not being a beat reporter means I get to explore a wide range of topics and interests. In the same time period, I could be interviewing a MacArthur Genius about gravitational waves, researching why asafetida fell out of favor in Europe, or looking at how an island-country like Singapore deals with its waste .
I studied chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, a sylvan campus where spotted deer run alongside athletes. Rhesus monkeys raided dorm rooms but did not invade boy’s hostels! For grad school, I went to Tulane University. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), I was part of the finishing team on the Human Genome Project. These publications in peer-reviewed journals are a souvenir from my lab days.
- Quenching of 2,5-diphenyloxazole (ppo) fluorescence by metal ions J. Luminescence 75 (1997), pp. 205–211.
- DNA sequence of human chromosome 17 and analysis of rearrangement in the human lineage. Nature. 2006 Apr 20;440(7087):1045-9.
- DNA sequence and analysis of human chromosome 8. Nature. 2006 Jan 19;439(7074):331-5.
- Genome sequence, comparative analysis and haplotype structure of the domestic dog. Nature. 2005 Dec 8;438(7069):803-19.
Being part of a big science project was exciting, but analyzing strings of A, C, G and T all day – the four letters represent the nucleotides that constitute the DNA — could, and did, get mind-numbingly boring. Knowing that there was more to the alphabet, I signed up for writing classes in the evenings. I enjoyed those classes so much, I enrolled in the Science Journalism program at Boston University. Ellen Shell and Douglas Starr are the program’s co-directors, mom and dad for the duration of three semesters.
Nowadays, I write for a general audience and you’ll find my work in magazines you can buy at the news stand. I am a correspondent for Science Careers. Actors need good directors to bring out the best in them, likewise I have done my best writing for excellent editors.
Being freelance has its frustrations. Overall, though, it is a good life.