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March 23, 2012

My favourite piece of science writing. Or is it?

Wellcome Trust Blog

The 2012 Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize, in association with the Guardian and the Observer, opened last week, so between now and the competition deadline on 25 April, we’ll be hearing from established science writers about a piece of science writing they admire and what makes it so good. In the second in the series, also published on the Guardian website, Wellcome Trust science writer Michael Regnier waxes lyrical about literary experiments.

My favourite piece of science writing is a poem by French avant-garde writer Raymond QueneauLe Chant du Styrène (The Song of Styrene) was written in 1958 as commentary for a promotional film commissioned by French company Pechiney, but I first read it as a standalone poem and immediately fell in love with it.

I liked the idea of a poem – written in alexandrine rhyming couplets – about the manufacture of plastics. I…

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