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Quit my job in cancer research to focus on the climate crisis. PhD in Bioengineering, fledgling in regenerative farming. (Seeking Writing Agent)

It’s Time to Reclaim Both

At the 1939 World’s Fair in Queens, New York, the fate of American cities was sealed. It wasn’t the debut of the television, microwave, or fax machine that would most shape the world we live in today; it was a gigantic diorama. In a masterful work of showmanship, General Motors and industrial designer Normal Bel Geddes intoxicated the public with a car-centric vision of the future. They called it Futurama: the speculative world of 1960 frilled in a splendor of skyscrapers and highways criss-crossing the United States. To the detriment of our cities, lungs, and climate, their prophecy more-or-less became…

Contemplating a new normal in the face of a warming world

Back in January, I quietly committed to stop flying and join the #flightfree2020 movement. Instead of announcing it apropos of nothing, my plan was to explain my decision as I opted for laborious train rides and carpools to move around the country. In March, I had a wedding in Santa Barbara, I could ride-share or rent an electric car, no biggie. In May, I promised to watch my partner run an insane ultramarathon on Orcas Island off Washington State. I had been dreading the awkwardness of those logistics — we’d take a train to Seattle and then rent a car…

It’s time to reconsider our role on this land

A path among redwood trees.
A path among redwood trees.

Four weeks before the fires, my partner, Nick, and I moved into our first home in the woods of Guerneville, California. Last Tuesday, at the exact moment we sat down for dinner, as if on cue, the evacuation mandate lit up our phones in unison. In an almost comical flurry of slurps of soup and frantic, unorganized fits of packing, we loaded the car like maniacs.

Choosing what things to take in a fire is a revelatory exercise. It affords a rare glimpse into the unimportance of so many of our possessions and the irreplaceability of others. Our housemate Brandon…

And just like that my 20s are over. Looking back, it seems I spent most of it chasing an ideal of success that taunted me like a mirage on the horizon. I had to get everything I could reasonably ask for in order to realize the deadness I felt inside was deeper, other than the longing for that ever-evasive idea of success.

In order to succeed, you dig into yourself. You dig out of yourself. You bring to the world what is inside. And you are promised that you will be refilled in turn. That your achievements will bring you…

Reflections on time, culture, and the climate crisis from a biodynamic farm in northern Italy

I. Norse concept of Wyrd: The Power of the Past Upon the Present

Hand me that tomato so I can invoke the history of our world. I stopped to take a picture in the kitchen. A baby slept in a stroller, her mother washed and sliced the tomatoes beside her while her father stirred the simmering vat, and her aunts and uncles churned about in their respective roles as grandpa unpacked jars, and grandma coerced the cooked tomatoes through a sieve and into sauce. Here time reveals itself in a way uncommon to my modern American eye. The past and…

Hello my name is Spencer Raoul Scott, and I share a name with a mathematician and a pornstar.

Spencer Scott is a female adult model and pornstar, and Raoul, my grandfather and namesake, has been called one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century.

This is a story about how at one time or another they both embarrassed me and shaped the reason I now go by Spencer R. Scott.

The Mathematician

There are a collection of memories we hold on to like jagged stones, bringing them out every so often, never sure why, to trace our fingers across them, to…

Suddenly, I’m awake; on like a switch. It’s Tuesday. With no bedside clock and a cellphone I intentionally keep out of reach, I can’t be sure what time it is. Judging by the glow of dawn smuggling around my curtains, I know it can’t be too early. If I wake up too early or too late, time is wasted. And yet, despite my concern for timeliness, I almost never set an alarm. I’d rather let my body decide when it’s fully recharged and ready to start the day. Besides, if I’m not sleep-deprived, I wake up with a start after…

My 25-Year Journey Through Ego and Humility

Twenty-five years after being abruptly ejected from the comforts of my in utero beginnings, I sit here reflecting on the core of what I’ve learned this past quarter-century. The pattern of my life thus far, taken together with the direction I am compelled to steer it, seems to form a cohesive battle against one word: Dogma.


1. (noun) a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.

Authority is an interesting word, it brings to mind an image of “The Man” or maybe a police officer, but authority can really be any group or…

Or, Some Advice to my Students

I mentor some pretty spectacular high school students in the arts of Synthetic Biology, but one day they asked for life lessons in lieu of cellular biology. I’ve always imagined that if I ever become a professor, I’d love to be considered much less a lecturer and more of a mentor; therefore, it was exciting to be given this opportunity. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any life lessons ready to bestow. So I prepared, and this is what I came up with.

When I began this task, I ran into a problem. The problem was that, like any twentysomething year old…

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