If you’re interested in the use of social media for science communication and public engagement, feel free to follow my shiny new Twitter account (http://twitter.com/kightpat), where I’ll be reporting/commenting from ScienceOnline Oceans in Miami this coming weekend.  Assuming the conference hotel wifi can stand up to the traffic from  200+ Tweeters …

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham blogs about the power of narrative in making science memorable.

“You don’t have to think of narrative just as the story of an individual or group of people; you can think more abstractly conflict, complications, and the eventual resolution of conflict as the core of narrative structure.”:

Some of the best writing about science can be found in the blogosphere, where scientists, science communicators and science enthusiasts share their discoveries, their curiosity and their passion for science. Top science magazines, from Discover and Scientific American to National Geographic, host entire virtual salons of smart, skillful science bloggers (see links to the right). Some of them are working scientists; all of them are top-notch science communicators. Here’s a sampling of some outstanding science blogging:

  • The Loom, part of National Geographic’s online “science salon,” by Carl Zimmer, an award-winning science writer whose work has appeared in NatGeo,  The New York Times, and Discover. Expect anything from creepy-but-cool insights into parasitology to detailed examinations of the chemistry of life on earth, with occasional side trips into science-related tattoos.
  • Not Exactly Rocket Science, another NatGeo salon blog, by Ed Yong,  an award-winning British science writer whose credits include Nature, the BBC, New Scientist, Wired, the Guardian, the Times of London, and more. Among other things, he’s written an excellent guide for scientists talking to journalists.
  • Bad Astronomy, by Phil Plait, a writer-astronomer who spent a decade working on the Hubble Space Telescope project. Plait’s blog has bounced from home to home and is currently hosted by Slate; he’s the go-to-guy for explanations of why asteroids (probably) won’t hit the earth, among other interesting celestial phenomena.
  • Cocktail Party Physics on the Scientific American blogging network, written by Jennifer Ouellette, who describes herself as “a science writer who loves to indulge her inner geek by finding quirky connections between physics, popular culture, and the world at large.”
  • Pharyngula, by University of Minnesota biologist P.Z. Myers, is part of the ScienceBlogs network. Cranky, opinionated and absolutely wild about cephalopods, Myers is one of the “elders” of the science blogging movement.
  • StarTalk Radio is a podcast hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the rockstar of astrophysicists and director of the Hayden Planetarium, who describes his target audience as “All the people who never knew how much they’d love learning about space and science.”
  • The Culture of Science, by Sheril Kirshenbaum,  a research scientist at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy who describes herself and her blogging as residing “in the space between science, policy, and culture.” Kirshenbaum’s books include Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future and The Science of Kissing.

What science blogs are you reading? Feel free to suggest more in the comments! And if you aren’t reading any, why not?