After traveling around the globe to investigate and communicate hazardous natural disasters, an award-winning science writer stopped in Madison this week as the spring semester’s science writer in residence.
Each semester, the Science Writer in Residence Program brings top science writers to Wisconsin to discuss their work with students and the community. Now in its 30th year, the science writer in residence has brought science writer Alexandra Witze and her husband, fellow science writer Jeff Kanipe, according to a University of Wisconsin statement.
A freelance science writer and contributor to Science News and Nature, Witze’s work primarily focuses on earth sciences. She has written a wide variety of science articles concerning climate change to deep space.
Understanding science is important, she said. There are so many daily decisions people make that involve science, whether it’s determining the best way to grow crops or preparing for natural hazards, Witze said. By understanding various science topics, like climate change, people can determine the best way to prepare for changes in the future.
“Science is about trying to understand the world and the universe and our place in it,” Witze said. “There are so many important types of journalism, but I like the exploration and discovery part of science.”
She said controversial topics like the use of GMOs are difficult to cover, but since climate change has become widely accepted, covering it is easier today than it was a few years ago, she said.
Witze received her bachelor’s degree in geology from MIT and science communication certification from the University of California-Santa Cruz, according to a UW statement.
Before she became a freelance writer and contributor, Witze served as the news editor and Washington bureau chief for Nature. In addition, Witze also worked as an editor for a Wisconsin-based magazine called Earth Magazine and as a science reporter for the Dallas Morning News. In addition, Witze co-authored a book with her husband called “Island on Fire.”
Witze will return to writing features for Nature magazine after leaving UW, but said she will her take her experience with students back with her.
“It’s been fun talking to students — my husband and I have really enjoyed our time here,” Witze said.