Come to Cairo and Let’s Get Physical

The World Federation of Science Journalist is convening the World Conference of Science Journalists in Cairo next summer.  I was invited to join a panel on covering physics (title: “Let’s Get Physical”), together with Alex Witze, Neil Tourok and Sean Carroll.

The idea will be to try to demistify physics for journalists who feel intimidated by it. Physics writers feel intimidated by it too. We’ve all gone through moments of panic when interviewing physicists. Like when you ask someone to please dumb down their model of superconductivity for you and they say “let’s make an analogy with something simpler, like string theory …” That’s when you want to kill yourself.

Fortunately, you’re not alone. There are people who work at national labs like SLAC and at professional organizations like the American Physical Society or the American Institute of Physics who will be happy to help you wade through “simple” concepts like string theory.  I know this because I have worked (or interned) at each of the organizations I’ve mentioned, and people there were always more than happy to get queries from journalists. Think of it as a suicide hotline for science writers.

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