Matthew R. Francis, Science Writer

About Me

Photo by Tony Hitchcock

Photo by Tony Hitchcock

Welcome! I’m a physicist, science writer, public speaker, educator, and frequent wearer of jaunty hats (including the eponymous bowler hat). My deepest hope as a communicator is to express the love I have for the wonderful Universe we inhabit: its black holes, galaxies, and marvelous zoo of particles, with all the ways they interact. On the educational side, I teach and organize classes in astronomy and related topics in my role as director of CosmoAcademy. My science blog, Galileo’s Pendulum, is devoted to explanations of some of my favorite topics: cosmology (the study of the whole Universe), astronomy, and the conceptual underpinnings of physics, connecting it all with fun stuff such as comics, poetry, and literature. I appeared in comics form as Pluto’s moon Nix, and am occasionally guilty of making “yo momma” jokes.

In addition, I write about physics and astronomy stories for The Daily Beast, Ars Technica Double X ScienceSlate, Nautilus, BBC Future, Aeon Magazine, the New Yorker‘s “Elements”, and other sites. You can find a complete list of my published material on my Writing Portfolio page. I’m also available to write news items or feature articles, conduct or participate in interviews, appear on radio programs or podcasts, and speak at your college, library, museum, or event; see my public speaking page for more information.

What is Bowler Hat Science?

Since my last teaching position ended, I’ve been a full-time writer, but I’m also a public speaker. I’m available for a variety of options and venues; you can see a sample of my recent and near-future activities at my Public Speaking page. Some possibilities include:

  • Presentations to the general, nonscientific (but science-minded) public. Possible venues include museums, planetariums, public libraries, high schools, colleges, and clubs. Topics for these presentations include (but are not limited to) the modern theories of our Universe, the science of black holes, and recent exciting results in physics, astronomy, and space exploration. I’m also open to suggestions; see my published work for ideas.
  • Seminars, colloquiums, conferences, or workshops for physics, astronomy, and related fields. Topics include the basics of science outreach (how to explain your research to non-scientists, even if it’s high-level stuff) and how to give better scientific talks both to fellow scientists and to the general public. Workshop activities could include master classes in how to construct slides, posters, and presentations for conferences.
  • Presentations or workshops for journalists, science writers, and related disciplines on the use and interpretation of scientific data. Topics could include statistics, probability, and how to read a scientific paper.
  • Radio, television, podcast, and written interviews on any of the topics listed above (though not necessarily limited to those).
  • Writing of articles, science news analysis, and similar items for newspapers, websites, magazines, and other publications. (Unfortunately I cannot accept more unpaid writing work, even if the cause is a good one, so please don’t ask.)

Testimonials, references, and writing samples galore are available upon request.