In 2014, I started writing short essays that I called op-eds, though in fact they were more like reflections or musings. They were all related in some way to science, evolution, natural history, medicine, and teaching.
I was inspired by an op-ed in The New York Times by Trish Hall titled “Op-ed and You,” which appeared on October 13, 2013 and encouraged readers to write and submit their own essays. Other inspirations for this kind of writing continue to be Chet Raymo (his “Science Musings” used to be a regular column in The Boston Globe), Carl Zimmer, and Olivia Judson, as well as earlier writers like Stephen Jay Gould and Lewis Thomas.
After some reflection, I decided that a blog would be a great way to share these essays with others. At first, I had trouble figuring out a suitable name for the blog. I knew I wanted it to be short, and have the word “science” somewhere in it. But all of the names I came up with were either already taken (“Natural Selections” and “Science Talk” for example) or not quite right (“Biolo-Gists”). So I sent my first few essays to several people and asked if they had ideas. The best suggestion came from 14-year-old Serena Laing, who said that because my first essay is called “Why?” I should call it “Science Whys.”