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How to write science books

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Five top science book writers offer advice for budding authors in a series of interviews in Nature's Books & Arts section. Peter Atkins reveals the hard work behind a successful textbook; Carl Zimmer highlights how passion is essential for popular science; David Brin reveals how criticism improves his fiction writing; Georgina Ferry shares research tips for biographies; and Joanna Cole explains how to convey science to children.

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Books & Arts

Q&A: Joanna Cole on writing science books for kids

Joanna Cole has authored more than 100 science books for children, including the best-selling Magic School Bus series, the latest edition of which tackles the topic of climate change. In the last of our series of interviews with authors who write science books for different audiences, Cole reveals how clarity and colour can introduce even very young children to science.

Nature 464, 36 (4 March 2010) doi:10.1038/464036a


Books & Arts

Q&A: Georgina Ferry on writing biography

Acclaimed biographer Georgina Ferry has chronicled the lives of two Nobel prizewinning chemists, Dorothy Hodgkin and Max Perutz. In the fourth in our series of five interviews with authors who each write science books for a different audience, Ferry reveals how detachment is needed to turn an attic's worth of personal letters into a compelling story.

Nature 463, 1025 (25 February 2010) doi:10.1038/4631025a


Books & Arts

Q&A: David Brin on writing fiction

After obtaining a PhD in planetary physics, David Brin found that he could make a better living as a science-fiction novelist than a researcher. In the third in our series of five interviews with authors who each write science books for a different audience, Brin reveals that criticism — and a thick skin — are the keys to good creative writing.

Nature 463, 883 (18 February 2010) doi:10.1038/463883a


Books & Arts

Q&A: Carl Zimmer on writing popular-science books

Acclaimed essayist Carl Zimmer has eight popular-science books to his name, on topics from parasites and Escherichia coli to evolution. In the second in a series of five interviews with authors who each write science books for a different audience, Zimmer describes how passion breeds popular success.

Nature 463, 737 (11 February 2010) doi:10.1038/463737a


Books & Arts

Q&A: Peter Atkins on writing textbooks

The success of Peter Atkins's classic textbook Physical Chemistry led him to trade research for full-time writing and teaching in the 1980s. In the first of a series of five interviews with authors who each write science books for a different audience, Atkins explains how the rewards for textbooks can be great, but the effort needed can affect your research.

Nature 463, 612 (5 February 2010) doi:10.1038/463612a