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Mike Carlowicz

Science Writer and Editor

Growing up in Edison, New Jersey, Mike Carlowicz wanted to be an “-ologist.” First he wanted to be an archaeologist, then a meteorologist, chemical engineer, and astronomer. Eventually he settled on biologist. At age 18, he told a local reporter (in a story about being the youngest American Legion baseball coach in the state) that he hoped "to find a cure for something.” The only thing he has ever cured is boredom, as he rarely stays with one topic or in one place long enough to wear it out.

While floundering in chemistry class at Georgetown University, he decided that he was not cut out for the detail-driven work of a scientist. He switched to an English major, though he really majored in his college newspaper, The Hoya. He completely overlooked the fact that writers are as rigorous and detail-driven about words as scientists are about data.

Two years into a journalism career at The Discovery Channel, he served as ship's naturalist among a group of city-slicker editors sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. While observing once-threatened ospreys nesting on channel markers and watching engineers at war with rising seas around Tangier Island, Virginia, Mike rediscovered his love of science. He soon applied to The Johns Hopkins University to study science writing, stunned that anyone would offer such a degree and curious why anyone would pay him to be a lifelong student.

So far, he has convinced scientists and experts in several fields--geophysics (Eos/American Geophysical Union), medicine (Clinical Laboratory News), space physics (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), and oceanography—into letting him write about their work. He has written three books springing out of his NASA experience—Storms from the Sun (Joseph Henry Press, 2002), The Sun (H.N. Abrams Books, June 2006), and The Moon (H.N. Abrams Books, June 2007). His next book adventure will rise out of the ocean or the ice.

Whether teaching nonfiction or procrastinating instead of writing, Mike relishes every day that he gets paid to talk to scientists and engineers, to learn how the planet and universe works, and to observe the first draft of science history. Learn more about Mike...


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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is the world's leading non-profit oceanographic research organization. Our mission is to explore and understand the ocean and to educate scientists, students, decision-makers, and the public.
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