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Anne Wallingford, WordSmith

People to Meet

It's not everyday I have the privilege of interviewing a well-known author who is also an astronomer and former teacher. When Dr. Eric Schulman consented to doing this interview, I took the quill pen from my business card and stuck it into my hat for good luck.

What should I ask Eric Schulman that would most interest visitors to this website? About his background, naturally, to establish his credentials. But what else? Since this site is geared towards writers and teachers, it seemed appropriate to ask Eric to share with us his own reflections about writing and science education.

Then, since no career is without its challenges, I thought I'd ask Eric about some of the difficulties he has faced. No one starts off as a "famous writer" or famous anything. It is too easy to lose sight of the fact that a lot of hard work and perseverance, as well as dumb luck, brings each of us to where we are today. We all have to make choices. As a writer, Eric has learned to let go of ideas. As a scientist and educator, he has had to choose where he was headed, given the limited career opportunities open at the college level. His thoughts about teaching bring to mind the minimalist philosophy "less is more." And CYA (Confirm Your Assumptions) is practical advice for writers and teachers everywhere, not just for researchers!

Of course, now that Eric has sent back his interview replies, I can think of a dozen more questions to ask him. Did he ever see the short video, shown several years ago at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, where Julia Child cooked-up a primordial soup to show how life began on Earth? Exactly how old was he when he was influenced by Sagan's Cosmos series? (I was in my mid-20s, and teaching, when the show ran on PBS.) Just how does one enter a contest to win the Hugo or other awards? Does your publisher enter your book? Do you submit copies? Maybe, if there are enough questions generated by readers of Eric Schulman's interview, he will agree to a follow-up interview!

In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy meeting this month's guest of honor, Dr. Eric Schulman, Science Humorist, Author, and Astronomer.

Click below to read Dr. Eric Schulman's interview.

- Anne Wallingford

Click here for: An Interview with Dr. Eric Schulman, Science Humorist, Author, and Astronomer

Published Works:

A Briefer History of Time (W.H. Freeman, ISBN 0-7167-3389-7)

"High-Velocity Clouds and Superbubbles in Nearby Disk Galaxies," in The Best of Annals of Improbable Research, edited by Marc Abrahams, p. 179 (W. H. Freeman, 1998, New York).

"How to Write a Scientific Paper," in The Best of Annals of Improbable Research, edited by Marc Abrahams, p. 187 (W. H. Freeman, 1998, New York).

Science humor articles published or in press in AIR:
  • "How to Write a Scientific Paper"
  • "The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less"
  • "How to Write a Ph.D. Dissertation"
  • "The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less Translated Ten Times or More"
  • "Gunga Dean"
  • "One Project in the Life of an Astronomer, Described in Haiku"
  • "The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less in 30 Languages or More in Teeny Tiny Type"
  • "Pat the Dean"
  • "Is there a Positive Correlation between the Number of Astronomer Characters and the Quality of a Movie?"
  • "How to Write a Job Application"
  • "The Resistance of Astronomers to New Paradigms"
  • "Can Fame Be Measured Quantitatively?"
  • "How to Write a Scientific Research Report"
  • Awards or other Recognitions:

    The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less has been translated into more than 30 languages. Dr. Schulman's reading of the article has been broadcast on National Public Radio's Science Friday, the Canadian Broadcasting Company's Quirks and Quarks, and Public Radio International's The World.

    Other Positions Held:Editorial Board Member, The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)
    mailboxTo send e-mail directly to Dr. Eric Schulman
    click here Eric Schulman

    To send a private message to Anne Wallingford, click HERE

    Monday, April 14, 2003 22:45