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Allison Bohac
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Science News

Allison Bohac

Assistant Editor

Allison Bohac is the assistant editor at Science News, which means she does a little bit of everything – fact checking and research, writing, news editing, magazine and website production and whatever other projects come her way. She spent her undergraduate years wading through Pennsylvania mountain streams to catch fish and frogs, which earned her a bachelor’s degree in zoology. After two years of managing aquatic systems for the laboratories at the National Institutes of Health, she went back to school for a master’s in science writing. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2011, and joined the Science News staff a few months later. On the weekends, though, she still prefers to spend her time in the woods as a volunteer at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian, Md.

Allison Bohac's Articles

  • Reviews & Previews

    Behind the Shock Machine

    In 1963, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram reported an appalling discovery: 65 percent of volunteers would deliver electrical shocks to another person at levels they believed were lethal if an experimenter asked them to. Ordinary people, it seemed, could easily be convinced to do monstrous things by authority figures.

    The famous obedience experiment resonated in postwar America, where the trials of Nazi officers were fresh in the public mind. Milgram’s work lent scientific credibility to fears about the human capacity for cruelty, says science writer Perry.

  • Reviews & Previews

    Brilliant Blunders

    Even brilliant scientists have bad days. Consider chemist Linus Pauling, who described the alpha helix structure of proteins in 1951. When he attempted to do the same for DNA, however, he botched it — badly. Among other problems, he flubbed the basic chemistry, proposing a structure for deoxyribonucleic acid that wasn’t an acid.

    When asked about Pauling’s faulty DNA model, one of his contemporaries commented, “You could not have written a fictional novel in which Linus would have made an error like this.”

  • People

    Blogger busts dinosaur myths

    For Brian Switek, the arrival of warm weather means it’s time to grab a case of beer, jump in the car and head out for the first dinosaur dig of the season. As a blogger who writes mainly about dinosaurs, he’ll spend days at a time camped out with paleontologists in America’s premier dino-hunting territory.

  • Reviews & Previews

    Frankenstein's Cat

    Artemis may look like any other goat, but a little human DNA inserted into her genetic code gives her life-saving potential. This University of California, Davis wonder produces milk rich in the bacteria-busting enzyme lysozyme, a compound that could help prevent some of the hundreds of thousands of deaths from diarrhea worldwide each year.

  • Reviews & Previews

    My Beloved Brontosaurus

    Poor Brontosaurus. First named in 1879 when a paleontologist mistook an Apatosaurus skeleton for a new type of long-necked sauropod, Brontosaurus may be the most well-known dinosaur that never existed. Though the error was corrected in scientific circles as early as 1903, the iconic behemoth lingered in museums, movies and the public imagination for decades.

  • Reviews & Previews

    Frankenstein's Cat

    This exploration of genetic engineering’s promise envisions a world in which pets are cloned and endangered species can be saved.

    Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013, 241 p., $26

  • Reviews & Previews


    Just before a migraine, New York Times blogger Siri Hustvedt had an amiable encounter with a tiny pink man and an equally tiny pink ox. The odd pair wandered around her bedroom a bit before vanishing. “I have often wished they would return,” she writes, “but they never have.”

  • Reviews & Previews

    The Violinist's Thumb

    Early in the 20th century, German biologist Hans Spemann separated two cells of a salamander zygote using a strand of his daughter’s hair. His experiment produced two fully formed amphibians, demonstrating that each cell contains the full genetic blueprint to build a living thing, not the partial instructions that scientists had previously supposed.

    Why he used the child’s hair isn’t clear, science writer Kean notes, but “probably the baby’s hair was finer.”