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Bianca nogrady 

Freelance science journalist  

 

And - Broadcaster & author

Try to find someone who can help you be fearless... who sees what you can become. Then pay it forward and do that for someone else.

What do you do?

I’m a freelance journalist writing about science, medicine and environmental issues for publications and outlets including the Guardian, Nature, Undark, MIT Technology Review, the ABC (Australia) and the BBC. I’m also a broadcaster, and regularly get on air on the ABC and BBC to chat about science.

I’ve also edited two editions of the Best Australian Science Writing anthology, written a non-fiction book about death called The End, and co-authored a book about innovation called The Sixth Wave.

Why did you choose this field?

"It combined my two great loves: science and writing."

 

My ‘eureka’ moment came when I was at university, studying for my bachelor of science/bachelor of arts, and editing the student newspaper. I discovered that there was this thing called ‘science writing’, and that people made a career out of it. I was instantly hooked.

 

Ever since I was a toddler filling my pockets with so many rocks that the seams gave way, I’ve been an unrepentant science nerd. I used to love listening to my parents – who were both doctors – talked about their work over the dinner table. I remember being blown away when my highschool science teacher told us that the chairs we were sitting on were 99.9% nothing (we were learning about the structure of the atom). And of course, I was raised on a steady diet of Sir David Attenborough documentaries and books, and he played no small part in steering me towards the sciences.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

"Each year brings something new that I never imagined I would achieve."

 

If someone had told younger-me that one day I would be writing for magazines such as Nature and Scientific American, that I would be chatting about science live on BBC radio, that I would be making a living as a freelance science journalist, I would given them the side-eye and said, “naaaaaaah!”. Each year brings something new that I never imagined I would achieve.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love finding out about stuff; how the world inside and outside us works, what it looks like, why it does what it does, what happens when things go wrong, and how we can make things better. But I also love chatting to scientists, because they’re such interesting, passionate people who dedicate their life to answering the question “why?”.

The great thing about being a freelance science journalist is that my work is so varied; each day brings a different story for a different publication, working with a different editor and writing for different audiences.

Best advice for the next generation

Be fearless. Don’t listen to the voices – both external and internal - that say you can’t do this, you’re not good enough, you don’t have what it takes.

Try to find someone – a mentor - who can help you be fearless, who can encourage you, who sees what you can become. Then pay it forward and do that for someone else.

Fun fact

Australian magpies are notorious for swooping humans in spring, to protect their nests. But one of many things I love about magpies is they remember human faces, and don’t attack people who feed them or who are kind to them. So we have some very well-fed magpies around our house.