The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) is delighted to announce its three Journalists-in-Residence for the academic year 2018–19. Each journalist will shadow a research project in one of the Institute’s departments, working on their own project and delivering a workshop on a theme related to science journalism.
Siobhan Roberts will join Department II from October 8 to December 15, 2018. She is a contributor at The New Yorker’s science and tech blog “Elements,” and Quanta. Over the years she’s written for The New York Times, The Guardian, Smithsonian, The Walrus, and The Globe and Mail, among other publications. She is the author of Genius at Play, The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway (Bloomsbury, 2015), which was a sequel of sorts to her first book, King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, The Man Who Saved Geometry (Walker, 2006). At the MPIWG she will be researching for a biography of the Swiss-American mathematical logician Verena Huber-Dyson (1923–2016)—exploring themes such as gender and sexual politics, and notions of evidence, proof, and objectivity.
Anja Krieger joins Department I from February 1 to March 31, 2019. As an independent journalist, she has contributed to the German national public Deutschlandradios, and in English to the Undark podcast, Ensia magazine, and several Nature supplements. Anja Krieger is a member of RiffReporter, a new journalism collaborative and ecosystem for in-depth freelance journalism in Germany, and is the producer of Plastisphere, a podcast on plastic, people, and the planet. In 2015 and 2016, she was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she delved into environmental sciences and science writing. During her time at the MPIWG, her project will explore the history of science of the plastic pollution issue in the 20th and 21st century.
Laura Spinney will join Department III from April 1 to May 31, 2019. She writes on science for National Geographic, The Economist, Nature, and The Guardian among others. She has published several books including a non-fiction work entitled Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World (Jonathan Cape, 2017), which was translated into eight languages; two novels, The Doctor (A&C Black, 2003) and The Quick (HarperCollins, 2008); and a volume of oral history on Lausanne, Switzerland, published in French and English, called Rue Centrale (L'Âge d'Homme, 2012). Her current interests lie in the fallibility of historical memory, and in the shaping of the concept of race over the 20th century. During her residency at the MPIWG, Laura will work on a book project on the resistance cell that operated out of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris during the Second World War.
About the Journalist-in-Residence Program
Seeking to make its research more visible, since 2013 the MPIWG has invited journalists to take advantage of the institute’s research resources for their own projects. The objectives of the fellowship program are to support high-quality journalism in the area of the history of science, promote the public dissemination of topics in the history of science, and strengthen the dialogue that the history of science facilitates among the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. At the same time, the program offers scholars at the Institute the opportunity to find ways of enhancing the public communication of their research. To support dialogue between journalists and researchers, the journalists each organize one workshop at the Institute during their stay.