Welcome! If you’re visiting this page, you likely attended the League of Utah Writers Fall Conference presentation Ask An Expert: Hard Science and you’ve come for resources. Our goal is to provide useful information for you to enrich your backdrop, improve your research practices, and satisfy your readers. This is done by treating your fiction like non-fiction and doing research.
We hope the resources listed here will make gathering the information you need easier and more efficient. Who knows? You may find more than you bargained for and now you’re stuck with all these amazing ideas for your next novel and your next. And your next. Sorry. Inspiration strikes where you least expect it. You have no control.
Facebook Groups: Talk about experts in their field … these groups have many members that are willing to help you with your research. Remember to be professional when asking for assistance. Usually, if an expert doesn’t know something and you’ve been polite, they will go out of their way to find the answer or connect you with someone who does.
- Extreme Weather Group
- Physics & Physicists
- Chemistry (I ❤ Chemistry)
- Utah Plant Identification
- Spider Identification
- The Art of Beekeeping in Utah
- Utah Birders
Universities with College of Science: Here we’ve got an excellent list of local universities packed full with experts and future experts. Many professors, grad students, and lab managers are happy to answer questions. Be sure to be conscientious of their time as it may be finals, midterms, etc.
- University of Utah – https://science.utah.edu/
- Weber State University – http://www.weber.edu/cos
- Utah State University – http://www.usu.edu/science/
- Salt Lake Community College – School of Science, Mathematics, and Engineering http://www.slcc.edu/sme/index.aspx
- Brigham Young University – https://cpms.byu.edu/ and http://lifesciences.byu.edu/
Other Online Resources: Very handy and some of our favorites!
- Sunrise and sunset by city and month: https://www.timeanddate.com/
- Baby names by state, decade, or year: https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/
- Global earthquake information: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/
- NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/
- NOAA: https://maps.ngdc.noaa.gov/viewers/hazards/?layers=3
- National Geographic: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Page.aspx?pid=1478
- Botanical Society of America: http://www.botany.org/
- The Weather Channel: https://weather.com/
- Google maps: http://maps.google.com/
Reference Books: Countless books are available. Here are just a few that we regularly use. Visit your local library.
- The Secret Sex Life of Animals
- Pocket Naturalist Guides (Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Birds, etc.)
- Plants of the Rocky Mountains
- The Sibley Guide to Birds
- North American Trees Identified by Leaf, Bark, and Seed
- Edible Wild Plants and Herbs, a pocket guide
- Beekeeping for Dummies
Finally the people around you, league members, employees at garden centers, wildlife rehabilitation, animal rescues and shelters, hospitals, planetariums, museums, visitor centers, etc. are all potential resources if you only ask. Nicely.
Remember! Treat your fiction like non-fiction!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for attending. Please feel free to contact me with any of your science questions.