Andrew Lawler is a freelance writer who has written more than a thousand articles for a dozen different magazines on topics ranging from asteroids to zebrafish. During the past 25 years, he has covered politics in Washington, archaeology in the Near East, and research in laboratories from Boston to Beijing; interviewed poets and visionaries like Wired founder Kevin Kelly and Rumi translator Coleman Barks, elected officials such as Al Gore and Barbara Mikulski, and scientists like Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson and MIT Nobelist Sam Ting; and filed stories from more than two dozen countries including Afghanistan, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Japan, Egypt, Russia, Iraq, Iran, India, Lebanon, and Yemen. He is a contributing writer for Science Magazine, the world’s largest scientific weekly, and a contributing editor for Archaeology Magazine. He has written for National Geographic, Smithsonian, Discover, Columbia Journalism Review, The Sun, Orion, Astronomy, Body & Soul, Yoga International, and several European newspapers.


  • National Museum, Baghdad: 10 Years Later

    The round hole made by an artillery shell was visible long before we pulled up next to the National Museum in Baghdad in early May of 2003. The puncture, just below a frieze of a king in a chariot, was…

  • Ancient Buddhas, Modern Peril

    WHEN the Taliban blasted the famous Bamiyan Buddhas with artillery and dynamite in March 2001, leaders of many faiths and countries denounced the destruction as an act of cultural terrorism. But today, with the encouragement of the American government, Chinese engineers are…

  • How the Chicken Conquered the World

    The chickens that saved Western civilization were discovered,according to legend, by the side of a road in Greece in the first decade of the fifth century B.C.The Athenian general Themistocles, on his way to confront the invading Persian forces, stopped to watch two cocks…

The Best of Science and Nature Writing 2011 It’s Alive / Discover Magazine (Notable)

For those seeking life on Mars, it is the best of times and the worst of times. Nearly 35 years after NASA’s twin Viking robots eased down onto its ruddy surface, there is still no incontrovertible evidence that living organisms ever existed on the fourth planet from the sun. Few researchers accept one scientist’s claims that the 1976 Viking experiment detected life. The brief frenzy over possible fossils in a Mars meteorite has fizzled. And even after billions of dollars’ worth ofadorable rovers and eagle-eyed orbiters…

The Best of Science and Nature Writing 2011 Collapse? What Collapse? Societal Change Revisited/ Science Magazine

CAMBRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM—At midnight on 24 August, 410 C.E., slaves quietly opened Rome’s Salaria gate. The waiting Visigoths poured throughthe narrow passage, trumpets blaring and torches held high. The first sack of Rome in 8 centuries has often been cited as the moment when one of the world’s largest, wealthiest, and most sophisticated empires died a violent death. For researchers struggling to understand how societies collapse, Rome’s fall has served as a model and a touchstone.

And yet an eclectic group of…

2009 Gene S. Stuart Award from the Society of American Archaeologists for a series of stories on the Indus civilization for Science Magazine. The award committee cited his “thoughtful, informative, understandable, and sensitive articles about archaeological research” written “with great clarity.”

About Gene S. Stuart Award

An award to honor outstanding efforts to enhance public understanding of archaeology, in memory of Gene S. Stuart (1930-1993), a writer and managing editor of National Geographic Society books. The award is given to the author of the most interesting and responsible original story or series about any archaeological topic published in a newspaper or magazine.

The Best of Science and Nature Writing 2008 First Churches of the Jesus Cult / Archaeology Magazine

As dusk approaches, Korean pilgrims in white baseball caps blow horns and sing hymns atop Tel Megiddo. This crossroads in northern Israel–also known as Armageddon–is where the New Testament says the final battle pitting good against evil will begin. Below the huge mound, tour buses idle, throngs of visitors buy postcards, and a nearby McDonald’s does a thriving business at its drive-through window. On the opposite side of the busy highway are the grim brick walls and coiled barbed wire of a high-security…

The Best of Science and Nature Writing 2007 Inside the Restoration of the Amirya Madrassa /  Discover Magazine

With foundation walls three feet thick, the Amiriya, a 16th-century palace and mosque in Rada, Yemen, has weathered earthquakes, monsoons, and tribal warfare. The ruler who sponsored the monument, Sultan Amir ibn Abd al-Wahhab, had a residence on the second floor. The first floor contains this courtyard.

It took almost 15 years of labor with wooden tools and dental instruments to clean the stucco in the prayer hall. Beneath the whitewash, every crevice was filled with dried carpet-beetle larvae. The Amiriya is by…

The Best of Science and Nature Writing 2006 Damning Sudan / Archaeology Magazine

The Land Rover is stuck, and the Manoosir tribesmen aren’t lending a hand. In Sudan, where African generosity meets Arab politeness, this means trouble. Even our easygoing Sudanese driver tenses. A few miles downstream from this dusty mud-brick town on a remote bend of the Nile River, Chinese engineers are building the massive Meroe Dam that as early as next year may flood the villagers’ homes, fields, and more than 100 miles of fertile valley. And archaeologists working to save what they can of this largely…

The Best of Science and Nature Writing  2003 Treasure Under Saddam’s Feet / Discover Magazine

You are drifting down the sluggish, muddy Tigris River on a reed raft, headed for a prominent spur of rock rising from a broad plain. Upon the rock stand the massive walls of brightly painted temples. Just behind them soars a brilliantly colored temple tower, or ziggurat, nearly 200 feet high, with a pair of smaller ziggurats in the background. Beyond sprawl the roofs of vast royal palaces housing magnificent reception halls and sealed underground…/p>

Knight Science Journalism Fellowships are designed
forself-motivated journalists who hope to improve their coverageof
science, technology, medicine or the environment.

About Knight Science Journalism Fellowships

In 1982, MIT established what were first named the Vannevar Bush Fellowships for mid-career science journalists, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan and Andrew W. Mellon Foundations. Victor K. McElheny, a former reporter for The Charlotte Observer, Science, The Boston Globe, and The New York Times, became the first Director.From the beginning, the Fellowships have been designed to recognize talented science journalists of high achievement. The program exists to expand their skills and sources, thereby…