This week we speak with Thomas Lin, founding editor of Quanta Magazine, an award-winning, editorially independent science and math news site published by the Simons Foundation, which itself is funded by Jim Simons, founder of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies.
Lin has written two anthologies on math and science: Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire: The Biggest Ideas in Science from Quanta; and The Prime Number Conspiracy: The Biggest Ideas in Math from Quanta.
He studied physics in school, originally planning in a career as an engineer, but was also attracted to journalism. He ended up on the National desk of the New York Times, before moving to the Science Desk, covering the latest breakthroughs in the basic sciences.
When the Simons Foundation was looking for an editor for an existing magazine, they reached out to Lin for suggestions. As he was thinking about who might be right for the role, he came up with a different idea: instead, he proposed a brand new magazine/webs site covering breakthroughs in fundamental sciences.
He describes the tools needed to be a good science writer — a fundamental appreciation for how math and science publications as well as skills communication in plain English complex issues.
You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunes, Bloomberg, Overcast, and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite host sites can be found here.
Next week we speak with NYU Stern professor Scott Galloway, discussing his new book, The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning.
Thomas Lin’s Books
Thomas Lin’s Favorite Books
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe by Steven Strogatz
The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides