Hey there, I’m Janet Fang!
I’m a science journalist living in New York with my ball python, Agamemnon Fang (neither Greek nor a viper). My stories have appeared in Nature, Discover, the notorious Point Reyes Light, Berkeley Science Review, and CBS SmartPlanet. And, perhaps more formatively, I spent several years at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology as a georeferencer and curatorial, field, and lab assistant.
That is, I assigned latitude and longitude data based on locality descriptions for thousands of herps and birds collected around the world since 1800, labeled bones as small as hummingbird ribs with a long string of museum identification numbers, caught lizards using a fishing rod and a noose made of floss, and washed lettuce and sliced carrots and corn to feed 40 Patagonian rodents (I also cleaned up a lot of rodent shit and piss).
Before working at MVZ, I spent my summers measuring tumors in mice using tiny calipers and creating educational packets for International Coastal Cleanup Day. I’ve also been a demonstrator for ‘Scream Machines: The Science of Roller Coasters’ at the Lawrence Hall of Science, where I explained gravitation and centripetal forces while strapping visitors to a bicycle attached within a 25-foot stationary wheel and while revolving within a big padded centrifuge, respectively. After the MVZ, I was a grad student and lab tech at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where I spent most of my time sieving chalky fossilized ooze, pipetting acids into small vials, and babysitting a cantankerous autosampler. According to my principal investigator and the various manuscripts I’ve written, I conduct geochemical analyses on marine microfossils that act as paleoproxies for ocean temperatures. That is, I make fossils tell me about how climates have changed in the past. (Go G. ruber!!) I’ve skinned and stuffed nearly 50 birds and mammals for the MVZ, American Museum of Natural History, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Smithsonian, and Yale Peabody. I shrank a skunk head once.
Oh, and I almost forgot! I’m the face of biodiversity informatics and an author of “Georeferencing for Dummies” and the “Georeferencing Quick Reference Guide.” I was almost published in the Tolstoy Studies Journal (maybe I will be still).
This blog was created, with love and beer, for the MVZ Newsletter (subscribe here). If you’re curious, you can see all my stuff at janetfang.com (updates coming soon) or email me at byjanetfang at gmail dot com.
In Vampires and Viperidae.