SciTech

She fills a gap for teens who like science

Meet Mina Murray, 32, a Canadian communications executive who lives in Zürich, Switzerland, and works in the dental field. Murray also writes the blog Weird Science (weirdscience.ca) for children in middle school and high school. Questions and answers have been edited.

Q. Why did you decide to write a science blog aimed at middle- and high-schoolers?

There seemed to be a gap after journal studies get filtered into mainstream science news such as CNN and the BBC. I felt there was a missing piece and wondered where young people could find science news in a language that made sense. Another concern I had was that the limited number of science sites for this cohort didn't touch on some of the more sensitive topics that connect with areas relating to ethics and politics. I still include controversial topics such as stem cells but aim to do it in an age-appropriate way.

Q. What special considerations do you have to make for content for this age group?

Simplicity is key for all ages but more so for this cohort. Attention span is another thing I consider, so I try to keep posts succinct. It's interesting because I have a lot of adult readers, which suggests that perhaps even science news for adults can be too complicated. I tag the posts with one of three different "brain power" categories, to help my audience find a level of science that's right for them.

Q. What are your favorite scientific fields or disciplines to write about?

I would have to say medicine, which is also reflected in my professional background. Anything to do with the human body tends to intrigue me. Other topics I enjoy are gadgets and technology, or animals.

Q. What topics do you find that your readers like the most?

A popular one seems to be stem cells, but I think this is partly because a lot of students are struggling to make sense of the science behind stem cells. Others are bodily functions, insects and deep-sea creatures. The most emotional post has been one on teen suicide, where I had many responses from teens in crisis. While it is heartbreaking to read the stories, it is also heartwarming to see teens offer support for one another and feel comfortable sharing on the blog.

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