I am a freelance journalist in the science metropolis of Boston. Sometimes, people ask how this works.
Do I run around finding stories and file something at the end of each day? No. That model only worked for the fictional character, “The Universal Correspondent” in R.K.Narayan’s novels. I don’t submit completed news stories, I send in story ideas or “pitch” editors, and typically write on commission after they give me the go-ahead.
Not being a beat reporter means I get to explore a wide range of topics and interests. In one week, I could be interviewing a MacArthur Genius about gravitational waves, researching why asafetida fell out of favor in Europe or getting a sneak preview of an art installation. I am also a correspondent for Science Careers.
I studied at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, a sylvan campus where spotted deer run alongside athletes. 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. Surely, there was more to the alphabet! I signed up for writing classes in the evenings. I enjoyed the classes so much, I enrolled in the Science Journalism program at Boston University.
Scientists, researchers, and innovators talk to me about things they are working on. It have an “in” on the world of ideas. Nowadays, I write for a general audience and you’ll find my work in magazines you can buy at the news stand.
It is a good life!