Ed Yong

Staff writer, The Atlantic

Ed Yong is a science journalist at The Atlantic whose reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting. Exploring a broad range of life science topics, Yong has previously written for other outlets such as The New York Times, Nature, and National Geographic.

Yong’s education includes a master’s degree in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge and a biochemistry MPhil from University College London. He then spent seven years as Head of Health Evidence and Information for Cancer Research UK, a charity that engages in cancer advocacy and research. He began blogging on science topics in 2006, and he worked as a freelance journalist from 2007 onward, receiving various awards and attention. Eventually, in 2016, he published his first book,  I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, which examines the human microbiome. He joined The Atlantic as a staff writer in 2015.

At The Atlantic, Yong covered the novel coronavirus outbreak in China in early 2020, and extensively reported on the subsequent global pandemic. These experiences built on his previous coverage of pandemic threats, and his writing shed light on diverse issues relating to COVID-19, including masking, immunology, vaccine hesitancy, pandemic science writ large, and the end of the pandemic.

According to Yong, the pandemic fundamentally changed his approach to science writing. During the crisis, he stated, “I wrote a series of long features about big issues, attempting to synthesize vast amounts of information and give readers a steady rock upon which they could observe the torrent of information rushing past them without drowning in it. I treated the pandemic as more than a science story, interviewing sociologists, anthropologists, historians, linguists, patients, and more… Science touches on everything; everything touches on science”

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