Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

New Horizons

Content within the CASW New Horizons section

Applications now accepted for regional travel fellowships to attend ScienceWriters2019

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Science writers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean are invited to apply for regional travel fellowships to attend ScienceWriters2019, a conference to be held Oct. 25-29 in State College, PA, USA.

The travel grants will enable up to six science writers from the region to join their U.S. colleagues at the annual conference, which combines professional development workshops organized by the National Association of Science Writers with the New Horizons in Science research briefings presented by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. ScienceWriters2019 will be hosted by Penn State University.

Fellowship applications may be submitted through July 21 using this online form:

Supporting science journalism in Latin America and the Caribbean was a special goal of the 2017 World Conference of Science Journalists. The ScienceWriters fellowships are intended to continue to support networking and professional development throughout the region and to strengthen ties between associations in the U.S. and elsewhere in the hemisphere. 

ScienceWriters2019 will include many sessions of special interest to Latin American and Caribbean science writers. CASW's New Horizons in Science program will include sessions on new threats to amphibian biodiversity in the Americas and new research on Caribbean coral reefs, as well as multiple sessions on topics related to climate, health and antibiotic resistance. NASW's professional development sessions will include a "PowerPitch" session for freelancers and topics such as "Data Security in an Anti-Science Climate;" "Science, Not Stigma: Navigating Empowering Language," and "Digital Map Making for Science Journalists: How and why to incorporate maps into your reporting and storytelling."

Fellowship applications may be submitted by anyone who writes, edits or produces science news, information or commentary for the public in Latin America and the Caribbean; teaches science journalism; or is a member of a World Federation of Science Journalists member association, and who would be unable to attend ScienceWriters2019 without financial assistance. English language fluency is required. Applicants should plan to submit samples of their work, a resumé, and at least one letter of recommendation. Preference will be given to journalists who have not attended a recent international conference.

The grants will cover economy airfare, ground transportation, visa application costs, four nights’ hotel accommodation, and complimentary registration for the NASW workshop program. An additional subsidy for meals, incidentals, and field trips may be provided based on demonstrated need. Conference organizers will reserve hotel rooms; other covered expenses will be reimbursed by CASW.

A fellowships committee will review applications and notify recipients of the travel fellowships by the first week of August, when organizers will open online meeting registration and publish the program for ScienceWriters2019. Fellows will be expected to register promptly and apply immediately for travel visas if needed.

The fellowship funds were made possible by cost savings from WCSJ2017, held in San Francisco in October 2017, and generous contributions to WCSJ2017 from U.S. science writers and others. NASW and CASW organized the conference in collaboration with the World Federation of Science Journalists. 

Workshop reporting captures highlights of 57th New Horizons briefing

Eleven talented science graduate students and postdoctoral fellows were transformed into science news reporters during ScienceWriters2019 in State College, Pa. Oct. 25-29, 2019, providing journalistic coverage of nearly half of CASW's New Horizons in Science sessions at the conference..

The CASW sessions provide the raw material for stories prepared by the participants in ComSciCon-SciWri 2019, a workshop produced by the national organization ComSciCon in collaboration with CASW and with funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The junior researchers attended to strengthen their science communication and storytelling skills and learn more about science journalism.

Workshop organizers Jason Chang, Jordan Harrod, Samantha Jones, and Stephanie DeMarco selected the participants from universities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin through a competitive application process. A day of training and discussion sessions was held at Penn State's Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications before the conference, featuring presentations from professional science journalists and communicators. After meeting their conference mentors, participants attended a day of professional development sessions organized by the National Association of Science Writers before the start of the CASW New Horizons program.

Nine participants chose to cover New Horizons sessions; two more conducted interviews with scientists. The New Horizons Newsroom for 2019 also includes a story by New Horizons Traveling Fellow Paul Nicolaus. The stories were edited by Jennifer Cox, Hannah Hickey, Betsy Mason, Czerne Reid, and CASW Executive Director Rosalind Reid.

CASW thanks the hardworking workshop organizers, presenters, and editors; HHMI, for its generous funding; and the mentors who provided individual advice and professional support to the ComSciCon-SciWri 2019 participants: CASW board members Maggie Koerth-Baker, William Kearney, Betsy Mason, and Ashley Smart, along with Athena Aktipis (University of Arizona), Hannah Hickey (University of Washington), Jane C. Hu (freelance, Seattle), Amy McDermott (Front Matter, PNAS), Tom Ulrich (the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT), Jon Weiner (Kaiser Permanente), and Liz Zubritsky (American Chemical Society).

This was the second ComSciCon-SciWri workshop sponsored by HHMI and produced in collaboration with CASW. The first workshop produced coverage of the 2015 New Horizons in Science program, presented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Image: Flooding at Assateague Island National Seashore from rising sea levels, discussed in the workshop story by R. Kevin Tindell of Arizona State University. Public domain image from the National Park Service.

Wayt Gibbs to join CASW as New Horizons program director

CASW is pleased to announce the appointment of Seattle-area science writer and editor W. Wayt Gibbs (@WaytGibbs) as director of New Horizons in Science, CASW's annual science briefings for science writers. Gibbs will take over with the 2020 New Horizons program, which will be presented in Boulder, Colorado, Oct. 9-13, 2020.

In his new role as New Horizons Program Director, Gibbs will organize an annual update on emerging research developments and issues across all fields of science as part of the annual ScienceWriters conference co-organized by CASW and the National Association of Science Writers. New Horizons in Science, formerly a stand-alone program, has been presented by CASW since 1963.

"The Council staff and board are excited about all that Wayt brings to the role of director of CASW's most valued and important program: new ideas, intelligence, creativity, and broad knowledge of science and the science writing community," said Executive Director Rosalind Reid, who has directed New Horizons since 2012. Reid will continue to manage CASW's role as partner in the ScienceWriters conferences as Gibbs takes on curation of the science program.

Gibbs has worked as a science writer and editor since 1989. He currently freelances as a contributing editor for Scientific American, where he was a member of the editorial board, a staff news writer from 1993 to 1998, and senior writer from 1998 to 2006.

Gibbs is also a contributing editor for IEEE Spectrum magazine and for Anthropocene magazine. His written work has appeared in Science, Nature, The Economist, Discover, Conservation, NBC News, NOVA and numerous other publications. He has contributed podcasts to Scientific American and on-screen commentary to NOVA. His articles have been included in the Best American Science Writing anthology and have won the AAAS Science Journalism Award, the Wistar Science Journalism Award, and others.

Since 2006, Gibbs has worked at Intellectual Ventures with founder/CEO Nathan Myhrvold. Highlights of that role include serving as editor-in-chief and project manager of the award-winning books Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home, editing several highly cited journal articles in planetary science and paleobiology, producing dozens of keynote presentations, including TED talks, and working on documentaries televised on Netflix, the BBC, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and PBS.

"Wayt's wide experience in all those levels of the science information system should serve as excellent preparation for programming the country's widest-ranging conference for science writers," said Alan Boyle, who is CASW's president as well as aerospace and science editor for GeekWire. "It takes a true polymath to pull off a successful New Horizons program, and I think we've found one."

Gibbs, who currently serves as vice president of the Northwest Science Writers Association, is a graduate of Cornell University, where he earned degrees in physics and wrote for two student newspapers. He was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT 1999-2000 and is a member of the National Association of Science Writers.

Anyone with program suggestions can email

Aplique agora para bolsas de viagem para participar do ScienceWriters2019

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Escritores de ciência de toda a América Latina e Caribe são convidados a se inscrever para bolsas  de viagem para participar do ScienceWriters2019, uma conferência que será realizada de 25 a 29 de outubro em State College, PA, EUA. Os subsídios de viagem permitirão que até seis escritores de ciência se juntem a seus colegas americanos na conferência anual, que combina workshops de desenvolvimento profissional organizados pela Associação Nacional de Escritores em Ciências com os Novos Horizontes em Ciencia, sessoes sobre os ultimos avancos cientificos, apresentados pelo Conselho para o Avanço da Escrita Científica (CASW). ScienceWriters2019 será patrocinado pela Penn State University.

Os pedidos de bolsa devem ser enviados até o dia 21 de julho usando o formulário on-line:

Apoio ao jornalismo científico na América Latina e no Caribe foi um objetivo especial da Conferência Mundial de Jornalistas Científicos de 2017. As bolsas da ScienceWriters pretendem continuar a apoiar o desenvolvimento de rede de contatos e o desenvolvimento profissional em toda a região e a fortalecer os laços entre associações nos EUA e em outros lugares do hemisfério.

O ScienceWriters2019 incluirá sessões de interesse especial para os escritores de ciências da América Latina e do Caribe. O programa Novos Horizontes na Ciência do CASW incluirá sessões sobre novas ameaças à biodiversidade de anfíbios nas Américas e novas pesquisas sobre os recifes de corais do Caribe, alem de várias sessões com tópicos relacionados ao clima, saúde e resistência a antibióticos. As sessões de desenvolvimento profissional da NASW incluirão uma sessão "PowerPitch" para freelancers e tópicos como "Segurança de Dados em um Clima Anti-Ciência"; "Ciência, não estigma: navegando na linguagem de capacitação" e "Criação de mapas digitais para jornalistas de ciências: como e por que incorporar mapas nos seus relatórios e narração de histórias."

Os pedidos de bolsas podem ser enviados por qualquer pessoa que escreva, edite ou produza notícias científicas, informações ou comentários para o público na América Latina e no Caribe; ensina jornalismo científico; ou é membros de uma associação afiliada a Federação Mundial de Jornalistas Científicos e que não poderá comparecer ao ScienceWriters2019 sem assistência financeira. A fluência em inglês é necessária. Os candidatos deverão submeter amostras de seu trabalho, currículo e pelo menos uma carta de recomendação. Será dada preferência a jornalistas que não tenham participado recentemente de uma conferência internacional. Os subsídios cobrirão a passagem aérea econômica, o transporte terrestre, os custos de solicitação de visto, quatro noites de acomodação no hotel e inscrição gratuita para o programa de oficinas da NASW. Um subsídio adicional para refeições, incidentes e viagens de campo pode ser fornecido com base na necessidade demonstrada. Os organizadores da conferência reservarão quartos de hotel; outras despesas cobertas serão reembolsadas pelo CASW.

O comitê de bolsas revisará as inscrições e notificará os destinatários das bolsas de viagem até a primeira semana de agosto, quando os organizadores abrirão o registro de reuniões on-line e publicarão o programa para o ScienceWriters2019. Espera-se que os bolsistas se registrem imediatamente e solicitem imediatamente vistos de viagem, se necessário. Os fundos da bolsa foram possíveis graças à economia de custos da WCSJ2017, realizada em São Francisco em outubro de 2017, e generosas contribuições de escritores científicos americanos e outros à WCSJ2017. A NASW e a CASW organizaram a conferência em colaboração com a Federação Mundial de Jornalistas Científicos.

Scientist-writer conversations to be featured at New Horizons briefings

For today's science writers, translating technical material for lay audiences is often not the hardest part of the job. It can be even more challenging to navigate the eddies of social and political controversy that surround topics in science today.

Three sessions at the ScienceWriters2019 conference, to be presented as part of CASW's New Horizons in Science briefings, will focus on topics at the interface between science and society, bringing scientists and science writers together on stage to discuss issues and solutions. The "Science + Science Writing" sessions at ScienceWriters2019 (#sciwri19), selected through a competitive proposal process, will be:

  • Going there: Tackling genetics and racism. St. Louis-based freelance writer Leah Shaffer will convene a panel to look at how the study of heredity continues to be intertwined with racist pseudoscience. Her speakers include Brown University biologist C. Brandon Ogbunu and two authors of books on science and race: UK science journalist Angela Saini, author of the new book Superior: The Return of Race Science, and anthropologist Pat Shipman, whose 1994 book The Evolution of Racism surveyed the interaction of genetics, anthrology and racism beginning in Darwin's day.
  • The #CRISPRtwins story. Last November, the world was stunned to hear of the birth of twin babies whose genomes had been modified. Two journalists separately broke the story of the work of a Chinese scientists and have continued to cover the ensuing controversy. CASW board member Dan Vergano of BuzzFeed News will convene a panel bringing together Marilynn Marchione of The Associated Press, Antonio Regalado of MIT Technology Review and Kiran Musunuru of the University of Pennsylvania, an expert who consulted with the journalists as they developed a startling story with lessons for both science and journalism.
  • When ideology or special interests hijack science topics. The ongoing debate about climate change is a notoriously noisy one, with religious, economic and political concerns contending against scientific conclusions for the public's attention. This session will look at how other science topics get "hijacked" by interests wanting to change the narrative, and consider how writers can do their job in the midst of this manipulation. Organizer and moderator Beryl Benderly has written extensively on the science labor market, where interest groups push the concept of a "talent shortage." Freelance writer Tamar Haspel has written about genetically modified food crops, another "hijacked" science topic. They will be joined by cognitive scientist John Cook, who has studied the effects of communication strategies on public understanding of climate change.

ScienceWriters2019, jointly organized by CASW and the National Association of Science Writers, will be hosted by Penn State University and held in State College, Pa. Oct. 25-29. The New Horizons sessions will be presented Oct. 27-28. The program will be available at by July 1.


(Photo: Marco Verch (CC BY 2.0)

Oil and gas development bootcamp for journalists: Oct 23-25

A ScienceWriters2019 preconference workshop

SciLine, the free service for journalists based at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, will host a two-day boot camp at Penn State’s University Park campus in the lead-up to ScienceWriters2019. This workshop will focus on environmental, health, and related issues relevant to communities that are home to oil and gas development, and will feature presentations by academic experts from across the country as well as discussions and a field trip

Expenses for SciLine’s boot camp, including transportation, lodging, and meals, are covered entirely by SciLine’s philanthropic grants. SciLine strives to increase the diversity of voices in science journalism.

The application period for workshop slots ended July 26. For more details, please visit

(Photo: Touching Marcellus Shale residue by Rebekka Coakley (CC BY 2.0)

Steven Squyres presents seventh Patrusky Lecture at ScienceWriters2019

Planetary scientist Steven W. Squyres, lead scientist for the long-lived Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, was selected by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) to present the seventh Patrusky Lecture on October 27, 2019, as part of CASW’s New Horizons in Science program at the ScienceWriters2019 conference. A full video recording of the lecture may be found on the Patrusky Lectures page.

Squyres is a seasoned explorer of our solar system, having participated in NASA’s Voyager and Magellan missions before becoming principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission. That mission became one of NASA’s longest and most fruitful for science.

When the twin rovers landed on Mars in 2004, they were expected to explore for 90 Martian days; instead, they roamed the Red Planet for years, providing a bonanza of information about Mars. Spirit lasted until 2010, while Opportunity stayed on the job until it lost contact with Earth a year ago during a Martian dust storm.

“From breaking new ground in planetary science to assessing the course of human spaceflight, Steve has played leading roles on a wide swath of the final frontier,” said CASW President Alan Boyle, aerospace and science editor at GeekWire (shown below right awarding a commemorative sculpture to Squyres). “He’s the perfect Patrusky Lecturer for a year that marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing as well as a rising tide for America’s space effort.”

About Steven Squyres

Squyres is the James A. Weeks Professor of physical sciences at Cornell University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1981 before leaving for five years of postdoctoral research at the NASA Ames Research Center. He has participated in a number of planetary spaceflight missions, starting with his work analyzing imaging data from Voyager’s encounters with Jupiter and Saturn as a graduate student, and is especially known for his work on the history and distribution of water on Mars. His research focuses on the robotic exploration of planetary surfaces; the geophysics and tectonics of icy satellites, such as Jupiter’s moon Europa with its possible liquid water ocean; the tectonics of Venus; and planetary gamma-ray and X-ray spectroscopy.

Squyres was a member of the imaging team for the Cassini mission to Saturn and participated in the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous–Shoemaker mission. The Mars Exploration Rovers are hardly his only connections to the Red Planet. He has served on science teams for Mars Express, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, Mars 96, Mars Polar Lander and Mars Observer.

He also served two stints as an aquanaut in the Aquarius underwater laboratory, in 2011 and 2012, as part of a space mission simulation program known as NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO.

Squyres has received numerous honors, including the 2004 Carl Sagan Memorial Award from the American Astronautical Society, the 2009 Carl Sagan Medal for Excellence in Communication in Planetary Science and Harold C. Urey Prize in Planetary Science from the American Astronomical Society, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science from the Franklin Institute, and the Mines Medal from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. He is the author of the 2005 book Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet

Squyres and his team finally shut down the MER mission after 15 years, in February of this year. “If you had told me around the time that we landed that Spirit and Opportunity were going to each accomplish one-quarter or even one-tenth of what they ultimately did, I would have been thrilled,” Squyres told a Cornell writer. He credited NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with building such durable vehicles “that Mars just kept giving us more stuff. The payoff has been immensely greater than anything ever imagined in our wildest dreams.”

Recently Squyres served as chair of the NASA Space Science Advisory Committee and as a member of the NASA Advisory Council.


The Patrusky Lectures were launched by CASW in 2013 to honor Ben Patrusky, who served as the council’s executive director for 25 years and as director of the New Horizons in Science program for 30 years. Previous Patrusky Lecturers include chemist George M. Whitesides of Harvard University; paleontologist Donald Johanson of Arizona State University’s Institute of Human Origins; Yale microbiologist Jo Handelsman, then associate director for science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Nobel-winning particle physicist Steven Weinberg of the University of Texas at Austin; Susan Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and geneticist Shirley Tilghman, former president of Princeton University


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