One way to make better science writing

less than 1 minute read

Alison Flood in the Guardian notes the scientific interests of celebrated novelist Cormac McCarthy: “Cormac McCarthy’s parallel career revealed as a scientific copy editor!” The article mainly discusses Lawrence Krauss’ biography of Richard Feynman, but then turns to a broader history of McCarthy’s times at the Santa Fe Institute.

McCarthy performed a similar service for the Harvard physicist Lisa Randall in 2005 for her first book, Warped Passages: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions. "He gave it a good copy-edit," Randall told the Radcliffe Quarterly. "He really smoothed the prose." Like Krauss, Randall also found superfluous punctuation removed from her debut. "Cormac isolated all the semicolons in the margin; I then removed them," she told the New York Times. "Apparently exclamation points are only for exclamations! Those were removed too."

The best part (for those who’ve met him) is how Murray Gell-Mann “was too rushed” to take McCarthy’s line edits!