Writing and me

I recently wrapped up the third edition of “We need to talk about this”. You can download the PDF proof >here< if you want. (You can probably right-click on the link and then choose “save as”.)

It’s about the new eugenics and about related topics like inclusivity (inclusiveness) and diversity in society.

Kindle edition: https://www.amazon.co.uk/need-talk-about-this-eugenics-ebook/dp/B0852SRDCR/


It was stunning to discover that even many colleagues in academia and industry have never heard of CRISPR. We so urgently need a public dialogue about this stuff and we need everyone’s engagement so that we can reach a global consensus.

I have also just uploaded “Solutions for dealing with stalking and harassment” (article) to ResearchGate and Academia.

Below is more information on my writing activities and you can access my Amazon author profile here:

Before I moved to Britain, I was part of the Arcadis Elements magazine team (@ 55 euros per hour, excl. of VAT).

I also was editor-in-chief of the newsletter and scientific yearbook of the Environmental Chemistry (and Toxicology) Section of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society of which I was a board member at the time.

For 11 years, I was an associate editor for the international newsletter of the Geochemical Society, which is based in the US.

I have interviewed people all over the world, on location as well as by phone and e-mail, from Hong Kong to Chile to Amsterdam and Oxford. I particularly remember finally being able to catch up with a very busy person (who is now one of my LinkedIn connections) on his mobile phone at an airport in the US, while he was waiting for his connecting flight. I also remember speaking with two highly sympathetic people who were based in Hong Kong at the time, working for Arcadis; one was German and the other one was Belgian.

I remember my interview with Claude Allègre in Paris because I learned major lessons from that.

I also remember my interview with Keith O’Nions, who had just been knighted and was about to become the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK’s Ministry of Defence. He is a kind and highly entertaining person.

Much later, in the UK, I wrote some flash fiction that is somewhat reminiscent of the work of Spike Milligan, I was told. I think that it only applies to some of it, and discovered that it is probably closer to Donald Barthelme’s quirky style. It’s available from various online retailers.

I translated one of Richard Bintanja’s books into “The Ultimate Brainchild” of which the topic suits nicely with the context of the new eugenics. I have contributed considerably to several popular science books in the Dutch “For Dummies” series.

My first academic publication, in marine biogeochemistry, had only me as author and was published as a tripartite discussion with a contribution from Jim Moffett, on whose work my article was a comment, and another one from Brad Tebo. It was accepted without any revisions. In part, it was a rewrite of a shorter article that I had submitted to Science in 1996 and after resubmission was deemed more suitable for a specialized journal.

At around the same time, I convened an AGU conference session in Boston on the role of fungi in the marine environment, supported by a grant from the Dr. Catharine van Tussenbroek Fonds. That got me invited to a conference in Hong Kong, but I only submitted an abstract as I was unable to travel to Hong Kong at the time. I did participate in the PICO-III symposium in Plymouth later that year, which I combined with a trip to Oxford where I did the O’Nions interview.

In 2000, I wrote a review on the environmental chemistry of cyanide, which was cited all over the world. I also contributed a quote about the Mariana Trench for a book in Canada. (My business website used to be over 200 pages and was listed on several Wikipedia pages.)

Other than that, I have written so many bits and pieces here and there (mostly on geochemistry and environmental chemistry, occasionally including health issues, and also on feminism/women in science), that it’s impossible to list or even remember them all.

I had already started writing stories and articles when I was in primary school. I was on my school’s first newspaper team.

As a teenager, I sent a letter to a national weekly, about a play by G.B. Shaw. It was published.

In my early 20s, I sent a letter to Tineke Beishuizen (a renowned writer at women’s weekly Libelle) about my mother’s illness and death. I received a letter from Tineke, asking me permission to use the letter as a column (adapted, of course), as well as a lot of encouragement to write more. We spoke over the phone. I called her from a phone booth.

I also submitted an item to women’s weekly Viva, about My cat Tim who I’d adopted from the shelter. Viva published the item and sent me a voucher in return. (I think it was for 25 guilders’ worth of flowers.)

A bit later in the 1980s, I sent about a dozen letters to the editor of Dutch national daily De Volkskrant, responding to articles in the newspaper. Almost all were published, and all or almost all in the Saturday edition. Most were on violence against women and children. As about 8 out of 10 of mine got published, I had not realized that it was quite hard to get such letters published in that newspaper. I discovered that later, during an evening course at the Netherlands School for Journalism.

In the mid-1990s, when I was living in the US, I wrote a letter to the editor of an American newspaper (the St. Peterburg Times, which has won twelve Pulitzer Prizes since 1964, but later merged into a larger regional newspaper). That too was published.

I became self-employed in Amsterdam in 1997 and continued with that when I moved to Britain at the end of 2004. 

Scientific editing (editing of journal papers and grant proposals) is one of the services I’ve provided from the beginning. Obviously, the closer the topic is to my own background and interests, the better.

Two papers that I remember particularly were one that instantly made me sit up with delight – because I knew right away Nature was going to accept it as the work was that good – and a paper started by a scientist who had passed away.

This can be a handy book to have, by the way:
How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, 8th Edition

My writing skills are a great asset, provided I actually use them. I do ramble at times, like everybody else and I also sometimes rant.

Here are examples of journals that I have revised manuscripts for:

  • ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
  • Annals of Glaciology
  • Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research
  • Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry
  • Carbon
  • Chemistry & Sustainability – Energy & Materials (ChemSusChem)
  • Coastal Engineering
  • Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
  • Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
  • Continental Shelf Research
  • Desalination
  • Energy and Environmental Science
  • Environmental Science & Technology
  • European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research
  • Hydrology Journal
  • International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
  • International Journal of Climatology
  • Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA)
  • Journal of Applied Meteorology
  • Journal of Environment and Planning
  • Journal of Food Engineering
  • Journal of Geophysical Research
  • Journal of Glaciology
  • Journal of Membrane Science
  • Journal of Transport and Land Use
  • Marine Geology
  • Nature
  • Ocean and Coastal Management
  • Postharvest Biology and Technology
  • Proceedings of Beyond the Standard Model
  • Proceedings of AIP conference DSU 2010
  • Proceedings of the Twelfth Marcel Grossmann Meeting on General Relativity
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
  • Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • Reviews in Geophysics
  • Science
  • Science of The Total Environment
  • Separation and Purification Technology
  • Surface and Coatings Technology
  • Tellus
  • Transplantation
  • Transportation
  • Transplant Proceedings
  • Water Environment Research
  • Water Research
  • Water Resources Research