ESS/ATMOS 519 OCEAN 518: Scientific Writing and Graphics
University of Washington
Winter 2019

Instructors: Steve Warren and Gerard Roe
Email: sgw at groe at

Office: SGW - ATG 104; GR - JHN 361
Office Hours: by arrangement
Telephone: SGW 543-7230; GR 697-3298

Meeting Times and Locations

Tuesdays at 3:30-5:20

Location: JHN 022.

  • Each week, all participants will read some selected articles.
  • Two participants will be responsible for leading discussion of each chosen paper or chapter.
  • During the Quarter, participants will prepare outlines, figures, and abstracts for a paper on for a topic of interest in their research areas, and will share and review their work with a peer in the class.


As scientists, we all are interested in communicating our work effectively (or at least we should be).   In this seminar, we will investigate how to do that, by reading and discussing articles by authorities in the field, practicing and critiquing our own writing, and writing by others.

Topics will cover abstracts, peer-reviewed texts, proposals, and scientific figures. Please see downloadable syllabus on the left sidebar.

Recommended preparation

Interest in creating well-written scientific papers and proposals, and producing effective scientific graphics.

A graph that tells a story ...

Charles Joseph Minard's famous graph showing the decreasing size of the Grande Armée as it marches to Moscow and back with the size of the army equal to the width of the line. Temperature is plotted on the lower graph for the return journey (Multiply Réaumur temperatures by 1¼ to get Celsius, e.g. −30°R = −37.5 °C).

Click here for larger image.
How NOT to write ...