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I heartily concur with Murrie Burgan (hi, Murrie!) on curiosity as
one of the most important attributes of a good science writer. I have
seen editors with science backgrounds (e.g., in botany) who refused to
learn anything about physics -- and editors with degrees in English
who managed to master the vocabulary and learn enough about the
concepts to gain a good deal of respect from their customers. The
difference is curiosity -- who cares enough to go and find out?
(Or, in my case, who can't stand being left out of the conversation
when it gets technical?)
Curiosity is probably one of the most important attributes for ANY
kind of writer, for that matter -- curiosity and the ability to make
other people take an interest in the thing that piques the writer's
Writers (and editors!) should take Rikki-Tikki-Tavi's motto as their
own -- "Run and find out." (And if you weren't brought up on Kipling's
_Jungle Books_, then you have my deepest sympathy.)
Bonnie Nestor, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
mnj -at- ornl -dot- gov
DISCLAIMER: These are not necessarily the opinions of Oak Ridge National
Laboratory, Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc., or the
U.S. Department of Energy. They may not even be my opinions