A Meteoric Rise

In the seventh century BCE, Greeks thought that the weather was linked to the motion of the planets and stars. The word “meteor” was used to describe anything that happened high up in the atmosphere, and included what we would now call astronomical phenomena as well as weather- and atmosphere-related events. Thus the field of study the atmosphere and its patterns became called meteorology.

My first editing job was at the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences (or JAS as we affectionately called it). I became fond of JAS and my job copyediting meteorology. I liked to joke that the technical editor and I were the only ones who read JAS from cover to cover, and it was totally wasted on me.

My job editing meteorology eventually lead me to a second and third scientific editing position. Today I edit articles from a variety of scientific disciplines for the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. I still find myself drawn to the physical sciences, geology, meteorology, physics, and astronomy. Chemistry and I have a bit of an estranged relationship going back to the eleventh grade, but that is another story.

My robust English major/writer background and my puny (yet punny) science background leads to a lot of humor on my end as I try to make it through the my day. Yesterday I was amused by the fact that my authors were talking about a “meteoric rise” of methane concentrations in the atmosphere. It wasn’t until my second pass that I saw that it was a meteorological pun. This fact, I am sure, escaped my authors.

How do you amuse yourself at work?

(PS Keep your eye out for the Perseid meteor shower on August 11. Photo from JPL/NASA)