MIXED REVIEW: David Gordon, a science writer and biologist, calls chapter writing "a wonderful and awful experience."
Scientists are, by necessity, writers. Academic scientists write exams, grant applications, and research papers; their industrial counterparts compose company reports and patent applications. Chapter writing offers a breather from these higher-pressure literary demands, whether it is for a published version of a symposium talk, a chapter for a textbook, or an analysis of a specific research area.

Penning a chapter can be an intellectually invigorating experience, say those who've done it, with side benefits. "Writing book chapters is a marvelous way to prompt us to organize our thoughts on a particular topic," says Joseph Falkinham, a professor of biology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg who has contributed to 17 microbiology books. His chapter writing has led to valuable collaborations and invitations to speak in interesting places, and...

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