Book: The Best Australian Science Writing 2013

The Best Australian Science Writing 2013 

Edited by Jane McCredie & Natasha Mitchell, Newsouth Books (2013), RRP $29.99

The latest anthology of the best Australia Science writing is out with a treasure trove of topics.

Breaking with tradition, the foreword is written not by a Nobel laureate but comedian, musician and self-confessed science-nerd, Tim Minchin.

“Great science writing is the art of communicating that ‘awe of understanding’, so that we readers can revel in the beauty of a deeper knowledge of the world,” he writes.

And what a world is opened up here: from the psychology of flatulence, to radioactive cigarettes, the science of the sex in Fifty Shades of Grey and the potential return of the dodo, the collection shows how science colours and explains every corner of our world, no matter how apparently obscure.

The collection is edited and curated by two veteran science communicators.

Jane McCredie is an award-winning writer on science and medicine who is currently the Executive Director at the NSW Writers’ Centre, and Natasha Mitchell, an award-winning writer and host of ABC Radio National’s Life Matters.

Contributors include the shortlisted writers for the Bragg UNSW Press prize for Science writing. With full disclosure we are happy to note some are contributors to COSMOS, including Gina Perry (whose “Shock Machine” appears in this issue on page 60), and our editor-in-chief Elizabeth Finkel.

The last word though should go to Minchin, who best describes why this book is not just for scientists, but for everyone.

“This volume is a small exciting and illuminating reminder that art and science feed off each other, need each other, are each other.”

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