The Building Blocks of Science Writing - Advanced Workshop

42-3-002 (CERN)



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Tasneem Z. Husain , Isabel Trigger (TRIUMF (CA)) , Marco Delmastro (CNRS/IN2P3 LAPP) , Claire Adam Bourdarios (Laboratoire de l'Accelerateur Lineaire (FR))

SUMMARY: This workshop is designed to show physicists how to write for a lay audience in a manner that not only informs and explains, but also encourages readers to establish a relationship with ideas, thus promoting a public engagement with science.

OVERVIEW: Particle physics proceeds according to an underlying logic: we study the building blocks of the universe, probing individual particles and studying the ways in which they influence each other, because we believe that even an entity as vast and varied as our physical universe can be understood in terms of its elemental constituents and their interactions.

Geared towards particle physicists, these workshops take a similar approach to the universe of science writing. By deconstructing passages, culled from a wide range of sources, participants will attempt to identify the components of effective science writing, study them individually, and examine how they interact. Through discussions and a series of exercises, participants will learn how to incorporate these elements into their own writing, be it long or short, blog or book.

Two workshops have been designed, to cater to writers at different levels. The enrollment in both workshops will be capped, to ensure that a participative, interactive, experience remains possible.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: the workshop will be conducted by Tasneem Zehra Husain, a theoretical physicist and the author of Only The Longest Threads. Tasneem has written numerous articles for newspapers and magazines, both in print and online, has contributed to various anthologies of science writing for adults and children, and is a regular columnist for the highly acclaimed blog Tasneem has taught science writing to a wide range of audiences at literary conferences, book festivals, science festivals, in schools, as well as a recurring course at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.


THE ADVANCED WORKSHOP: is designed for experienced writers looking for new ways to enrich their work. This smaller, more intense, group will focus on pinpointing and strengthening each participant’s individual style. We will practice generating metaphors, discuss effective methods of conveying ideas and learn various techniques for drawing a reader in. At the end of the three days, participants will have the tools with which to construct multi-layered narratives, and a clearer sense of their own unique voice.This workshop is open to everyone at CERN, although priority will be given to ATLAS collaboration members. Registration is by email to

Maximum number of participants: 12

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Claire Adam Bourdarios
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