Sedeer el-Showk Freelance science writer

I've always been fascinated by the world around us and deeply enamored with language in all its forms. Trained as a scientist, I embarked on a career as a science writer after realizing that I enjoy writing and talking about science more than doing research. My theater and debate experience make me an effective, engaging communicator. I've been educated as a biologist, with an MSc in evolutionary biology and a PhD in plant genetics.

I've written for Nature Outlooks, Nature Middle East, Nature Asia Pacific, Science,, Nautilus, BBC Focus, and other outlets. I'm available for writing, editing, or speaking jobs. If you'd like to know more, please get in touch.

LinkedIn logo  sedeer@SPAMBLOCK>

UAE aims for Mars — and payoffs on Earth


The United Arab Emirates is poised to join an elite club with its mission to Mars. Planners hope the mission will not only provide data on the Martian atmosphere but also boost the country's space industry and science capacity.

How does a sourdough starter work?

Food Unfolded

There are countless guides about how to create a sourdough starter and nurture it, but what actually happens in that mixture of flour and water? How does it become the source of such a rich taste, and why do you need to feed it regularly?

A silver lining for research at a time of pandemic

Nature Middle East

In repsonse to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments in the Middle East quickly placed restrictions on non-essential businesses, services and travel. How have scientists in the region coped with the restrictions and found ways to keep research going?

Climate change and conflict

Nature Middle East

Although research supports a role for drought in triggering the Syrian war and the subsequent refugee wave, research into the link between climate change, conflict, and migration cannot escape social assumptions and political agendas.

Saving the digital world

Nature Outlook

A growing proportion of global culture exists only online, mediated by ephemeral technologies and stored by private corporations. Archiving this digital material presents an ongoing challenge to those tasked with preserving our cultural heritage.

Shaking up salt-friendly agriculture

Nature Middle East

Freshwater resources are strained by overuse and climate change, and the Middle East is especially vulnerable. Desalination won't help enough. To close the gap, scientists are looking to the wilderness and adapting & adopting ancient agricultural practices.

The Skill Trap

Nature Middle East

An algorithmic analysis categorized US jobs as demanding either ‘sensory-physical’ or ‘socio-cognitive’ skills, with higher-paying roles calling for the latter. Workers rarely have skills from both clusters, trapping some workers in low-income jobs.

Reaping knowledge

Nature Index

Twelve years ago, Saudi Arabia embarked on an ambitious programme to offer its citizens unparalleled higher education opportunities. Hundreds of thousands of Saudis have passed through the programme, but the national benefits remain unclear.

To Mars with Hope


A Mars orbiter mission planned by the United Arab Emirates aims to probe the Red Planet's atmosphere from top to bottom. The ambitious project, which marks the nation's entry into planetary exploration, has already spurred the growth of local scientific talent.

Popular science

These are a few of the videos I've worked on, serving as script writer, researcher, and scientific producer.

Life Science Prize

Physical Science Prize

Mathematics and Computer Science Prize

The Dressing Room

Daily Science Fiction

Copyright law has bothered me for some time. Envisioned as a way to reward creativity, it's turned into an asset management tool that stifles opportunities and holds our culture ransom. This story is one effort to explore and explain that. Of course, it has to rely on circumlocution to describe the very thing it aims to challenge...but that's what stories are supposed to do.

The Ones Who Made the Cage

Daily Science Fiction

I've read several sequels to Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas". It's a very difficult story to follow, and eventually I started to feel like the more interesting question would be where Omelas came from. Once I started thinking about that, I couldn't do anything except write this story. If you haven't read Le Guin's story, I certainly think you should.

In addition to reporting on science, I provide or have provided science writing services to the following research organizations:

  • King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia)
  • King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia)
  • King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (Saudi Arabia)
  • Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (Kuwait)
  • Nara Institute of Science and Technology (Japan)
  • RIKEN (Japan)
  • A*STAR (Singapore)
  • Diamond Light Source (UK)
  • Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF/ (USA)
  • Coiled (USA)
  • Aalto University