March 21: How to Write Science That’s Literature

We may never know anything about 96 percent of the universe. How does a science writer turn this into a compelling story – and earn rave reviews?

Learn how with Richard Panek, author of The 4% Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality.

Monday, March 21, 6-8 pm
American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Richard Panek specializes in cosmology – tough, hard-to-do, and hard-to-understand science. Yet his prize-winning writing has been called “elegant,” with a “compelling narrative of science at its best,” told with clarity, ease, and verve.

He will describe the ingredients and approaches he uses – to help you write poetically and imaginatively, yet accurately.

Mr. Panek’s wonderful new book, The 4% Universe, is about the completely unknown parts of the universe – which do not include planets, stars, or the 125 billion known galaxies.

As Mr. Panek has put it, “The rest – 96 percent of the universe – is…who knows?”

In a review of The 4% Universe, Carl Zimmer noted that Mr. Panek “succeeds because he recognizes that he’s writing not just about red shifts and supernovae, but about people.” Very interesting people, working together in compelling ways. If you enjoyed hearing physicist Michael Turner at CASW in New Haven last November, there’s no question that you’ll enjoy hearing what Richard Panek has to say.

Mr. Panek’s previous books include Seeing and Believing: How the Telescope Opened Our Eyes and Minds to the Heavens and The Invisible Century: Einstein, Freud, and the Search for Hidden Universes.

He has won a Guggenheim fellowship for science writing, and frequently writes about astronomy and cosmology for The New York Times, Discover, and many other publications. He lives in New York with his wife, the novelist Meg Wolitzer, and their two sons.


Monday, March 21
6:00 – 6:30 pm – Socializing and networking.
6:30 – 8:00 pm – Author’s talk and Q & A.
Mr. Panek will sign books for purchase

3 Park Avenue (corner of 34th St)
22nd Floor, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)


Cost: $5 SWINY members, $10 non-members*

*Join SWINY ($25 at and pay the member’s rate.

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