Field of Science

Writing Science: What do journal articles and romance novels have in common?

The anatomy of a scientific paper. What do scientists mean when we say "the literature" (in hushed reverent tones)? What role does it play? Is a journal article as formulaic as a romance novel? Is this a bad thing? Where is the drama packed into a scientific paper? The introduction? The conclusion? Or are articles (as one of my students put it) "stripped of all their drama"?

Writing prompt of the day

Pick one of the titles below and write an introduction to this paper. If you don't know the meaning of a particular term, create a meaning. Five minutes.

• Kinetic Isotope Effects for the Reactions of Muonic Helium and Muonium with H2
• Enhanced lithium depletion in Sun-like stars with orbiting planets
• One small step for a mouse
• Transient Hoogsteen base pairs in canonical duplex DNA

Next up?

What sets the tone in an article? Grab a journal article at random and start circling all the qualifiers - are they "needless words" (as William Strunk of Elements of Style fame would have it) or careful bounding on the part of the authors as to their claim?

And would a set of journal covers look as similar to an untutored eye as these romance novel covers?

Romance novel covers art from

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