Mary Roach’s Insightful Visit to SVHS


Nick Tuttle, Ryder Calhoun, and Garrett Graham

Award-winning author Mary Roach visited SVHS last Friday. Known as the ‘funniest science writer,’ Mary Roach has published 7 books revolving around science, yet written in a comedic tone. She has also written for National Geographic, Wired, the New York Times Magazine, and the Journal of Clinical Anatomy, among others. Her TED talk reached the TED 20 most watched list and is a proud winner of the American Engineering Societies’ journalism award.

Mary Roach attended Westylan University and graduated in 1981, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Although she did not get a degree in science, when asked if she regretted not getting a science degree, Roach replied “yes and no, I wish I had more scientific knowledge, but at the same, it’s helpful because I am on the same education level as the reader.”

She started her career as a freelance copy editor in San Francisco. From 1996 to 2005, Roach was part of “the Grotto”, a San Fransico-based project and community of working writers and filmmakers. In this group, Roach gained the confidence and drive to break into the career of book writing.

Mary Roach loves her work because it helps fuel another passion of hers – traveling. She has been able to travel to around 40-50 different countries because of her writing. When asked where her favorite place she traveled was, she said Antarctica. She wrote three of her chapters from her book Fuzz while in India studying animals. Her stories were always very diverse and informative because she would immerse herself in the subject of her next writing to fully understand the topic.

While Roach primarily writes about science, she never expected to make it her career. In her interview with The Verge, she explained that “it turned out that science stories were always, consistently, the most interesting stories I was assigned to cover. I didn’t plan it like this, and I don’t have a formal background in science or any education in science journalism.”

Mary Roach broke new ground in the science-literature field, popularising an entire genre and educating readers around the world on the comical and engaging side of science.