About Science Writing

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Windows on the World

Is Power

Science writing is, simply, writing about science. Spanning the full gamut from technical papers to entertaining stories, science writing transforms information into meaningful words to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the world.

About My Science Writing

Diatoms studied by Ursula Cochran

Down to Earth words for a better world

Where Earth
and Humans interact

The purpose of my science writing is to improve lives. I write about Earth and how to live safely, wisely, and healthily on it. I write for all sorts of good uses and all sorts of good humans. Have a look at some of my writing here.

About Me

Ursula Cochran Science writing notebooks

Sharing Knowledge is my passion

Get To
Know Me

I am a freelance science writer living in Aotearoa New Zealand. I believe science can make the world a better place for everyone. I enjoy turning chaos into order, uncovering tectonic truths, and illuminating nuggets of gold to help people navigate the bright stars and black holes of our universe.

Scientific Rigour from Academic Roots

Scientist. Writer.

good to know

I am a scientist who writes. In 2020 I switched from working as a scientist to working as a writer. This means I bring excellent research skills and a thorough understanding of scientific process to my written work.

Work Experience

I worked as an Earthquake Geologist at GNS Science between 2002 and 2020. I was privileged to work in remote parts of Aotearoa improving our understanding of earthquakes, tsunamis, climate change, and the hazards they present for humans.


There has always been a friendly tussle between science and writing for me. At university I alternated studying geology and English, so I gained a PhD in geology from Victoria University and a BA in English from the University of Auckland.

Learning from Land and People

My Heritage

With grandparents who were geologists, creators, and English teachers, perhaps I was destined to become a geologist who writes.

Childhood camping at Tōtaranui and beside the Manganui-a-te-Ao River taught me that weathering could turn granite headlands into golden sand beaches; that tectonics could turn seafloor sediments into riverside cliffs. And growing up in a tall, narrow house within 200 metres of the Wellington Fault, taught me about living with natural hazards.

Keen to understand New Zealand’s active tectonics, I embarked on a science career mentored by some of New Zealand’s best micropaleontologists and earthquake geologists. We uncovered evidence of past earthquakes and documented devastation from recent quakes – all in the name of encouraging better preparation for future events.

Throughout my scientific work, I was acutely aware that communication is crucial to the success of science. Society only benefits when knowledge is shared with those who bring about change. Now I’m turning my focus from generating knowledge to sharing it. 

An old black and white family photo of my geologist grandfather Burton reading to me.

Saving you time

My Skills


You name it, I’ll write it. I have experience writing everything from formal scientific papers to engaging stories for the public.


My curiosity and keen observation skills enable me to find and analyse data to add context to your research.


I bring a big picture perspective to help you design and structure effective presentations of your science.

Get your science out into the light of day

Hirayama Fireworks catalogue 1880s
With her years of experience as a scientist, and her outstanding ability to translate complex science into clear and accessible language, Ursula is one of those rare people who has the ability to sit at the interface of science, policy and practice. She is organised, thorough, professional and always delivers on time.

Dr Caroline Orchiston

Director of the Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago.
Ursula’s deep understanding and passion for science shines through in her ability to communicate complex scientific concepts. Her immense knowledge, creative ability, and prodigious writing skills come together in a unique way, making her the best science communicator I have had the privilege of working with.

Dr Laura Wallace

FRSNZ, Helmholtz Distinguished Professor at Kiel University and GEOMAR, Germany.