CHESS Science-Writing Course Report 2022

one of the groups in the course

during the class discussions

We met in person, and it was delightful. This, our 13th annual writing workshop, was over-booked, and so expanded to two weeks, 7-17 June, with some 19 participants. With long experience conducting these workshops in Bergen and elsewhere, I don’t think I’ve met a sharper or more receptive group; it was a pleasure working with them. As usual, I asked the writers to focus their attention on the presentation of their new scientific accomplishment and the gap it fills in current research—that being the sole purpose of a science paper—with constant, conscious attention to their intended audience. And they did, as their rewrites, done at the conclusion of a rigorous week, indicated.

My thanks to the faculty participants for their essential contributions. Many of these scientists have been loyal friends of the workshop since it’s inception. And we appreciated the attendance of some new participants.

Part of our tradition has been “Lit Night.” Thomas and I choose several short stories, which I read aloud and we then discuss. The purpose is literary enjoyment, but there are also practical writing lessons to take from fiction, about how writers use their tools to make meaning and engage an audience. Lit Night was held in the lovely new canteen area. (Our thanks to Thor and his staff for their delicious work.)

I was troubled to learn, during the CHESS Annual Meeting aboard Torllfjord, that CHESS funding will end after 2023. I’d learned long before that the foundation and subsequent life of CHESS constitute a remarkable accomplishment. I have utmost admiration and respect for Thomas’s committed, diligent pedagogy. I know that his students have benefitted from CHESS activities; I certainly have—and hope for its renewal.

And thanks to all for making Bergen feel like home to me, even in the rain.

Dallas Murphy

All photos by Thomas Spengler