Who are you?
My name is Tyler Irving and I am addicted to what Richard Feynman called “the pleasure of finding things out.”
For me, the only thing better than learning something new is sharing that joyful feeling of discovery with someone else. My career has essentially been an ongoing effort to find ways of getting paid for this.
Which means what exactly?
Lots of things. As an undergraduate, I ran the kind of fun, hands-on science workshops for kids that you’ll find at many universities, museums and science centres around the world.
For a couple of years, I taught high school science and math, in both Canada and the U.K.
During grad school, I ran more workshops, hosted a radio program, and got interested in writing, which eventually became my main gig.
I’ve been a professional science writer and communicator for ten years. I’ve written award-winning magazine articles, video scripts, display copy for museums, blog posts, reports, website content, speeches and more.
Did you ever actually do any science?
I have a master’s degree in chemical engineering, and I have published one paper in a peer-reviewed journal. That doesn’t make me an expert on anything (except maybe algal bioreactors) but it was enough to give me a solid grounding in most basic science concepts, as well as a taste of how scientists think and spend their days.
Can I see some examples of stuff you’ve written lately?
Here are some selected projects from the last few years. Some of them have even won awards.
What do you think makes you different from other science writers?
I guess the main thing is that I was an engineering student first and a writer second. So while I can interpret the results the same as anyone else, I tend to think a little more in terms of potential applications — what will this discovery enable us to do that we couldn’t do before? What barriers are still holding us back? What would it take to overcome those?
In a lot of cases, the roadblocks don’t have much to do with technical feasibility, but rather with economics, politics or other forces. I try to write about those too.
Is there anything else I should know about you?
I play many instruments, including the Great Highland Bagpipe.
I am happily married, with two adorable and curious kids who are great at keeping me too busy to write.
How can I get in touch with you?