Careers Using Physics  

Kate M. McAlpine

Education BS - Physics, Michigan State University
Job Sectors Media
Job Title Freelance Writer
Job Description As a science communicator, my job is to explain research.

I'm a freelance writer and sometimes rapper, specializing in physics. As a science communicator, my job is to explain research. Sometimes it's documenting the progress of a long-term project, like my current work with the ATLAS e-News, for the ATLAS experiment on CERN's Large Hadron Collider. Sometimes it's reporting about a recent advance, as in the articles for New Scientist magazine. Sometimes it's just goofing off and trying to get the word out to whoever cares to listen, as with the Large Hadron Rap and it's lesser-known predecessor, N3UROCH!P.

In the interviews about the Large Hadron Rap, I often found myself in a position to defend scientific research and explain its value. Other times, I needed to explain how scientists know that the most powerful particle accelerator ever constructed is not going to bring about the end of the world.

I planned the science communicator part while still in college, studying both physics and writing at Michigan State University, but I didn't plan rap as an aspect of my career. But so it is now, with one on nuclear physics to be finished in June and a black hole rap toward the end of the summer or early fall. For my most regular work, on the ATLAS e-News, our task is sometimes called "in-reach", sharing the progress of the detector and activities in collaboration with over 2,200 member physicists scattered across the globe.

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