Sarah Scoles

Freelance journalist


Be curious! Notice what you don't know, and try to find it out.

What do you do?

I write about science and technology for general-interest publications. That means following the latest developments (and my own curiosity) in topics like astronomy, physics, artificial intelligence, the satellite industry, and biotechnology. Then, I interview experts in those fields to learn more, usually about the story behind the science or the story of its implications. And then, finally, I combine research and interviews into an article that hopefully people read!

Why did you choose this field?

I grew up wanting to be an astronomer, starting when I was very young. I was raised near Kennedy Space Center and always had space on the brain. When I went to college, I discovered that I loved learning about cosmic stuff, but my internships showed me that the actual *doing* of science was not as thrilling to me. I took a fiction writing class, just for fun, while I was trying to figure out what to do about my changing interests. Discovering I loved it, I set about writing realistic stories about realistic scientists and the sorts of science I loved--pulsars, the Big Bang, dark matter, black holes. After I went to more school for fiction writing, I worked at a radio-astronomy observatory, where I ran science camps for middle- and high-school students, who were able to use telescopes to make their own real discoveries--mapping our galaxy, uncovering cold clouds of gas, measuring the Sun's radio waves. In the course of that work, I started a blog where a friend and I wrote about new scientific discoveries in our fields. It was through that hobby that I realized writing about *true* science--science journalism, or science communication--was a job.

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

I wrote a book about my childhood hero, Jill Tarter, who has been at the head of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) field for decades. I was obsessed with Jill Tarter when I was growing up, because I loved the movie Contact, whose main character is based on her. When I got older and was a writer, I realized no one had written her biography, so I got in touch and asked if I could. To my surprise and delight, she said yes.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love working in STEM because I get to learn, every day, about a new topic that affects people's lives in ways they probably don't quite realize, and then I get to share the story of that science or technology with them. It helps me understand our world better, and I like to think it helps others do so, too.

Best advice for next generation?

Be curious! Notice what you don't know, and try to find it out.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"Chance favors the prepared mind."

--Louis Pasteur

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