JR Minkel, science writer, RIP

Minkellll Rising-star science journalist JR Minkel, whose work we've linked to many times on Boing Boing, passed away on Monday. Only 31 years-old, JR was a talented writer who covered space, physics, cosmology, and technology for Scientific American, where he was a staff writer, Popular Science, New Scientist, LiveScience, IEEE Spectrum, and many other publications. Author of the Instant Egghead Guide: The Universe, he also blogged at his own site, A Fistful of Science. JR had a knack for making complex science understandable by anyone, and his quest for knowledge, meaning, and humor shone through his writing. We send our deepest condolences to JR's family and friends. JR Minkel obituary (The Tennessean)


  1. Damn. Suicide is a clusterf**k for everyone involved. It solves nothing. My condolences to his family and friends.

  2. Yes, this is sad. His the the kind of writing I like to read, and I wish I had known more about his work prior to this.

  3. Why do I feel like saying “Oh God?”

    And why when intelligent humans choose to end their lives do I feel extremely spooked?

  4. @Anon #5

    I don’t know exactly why, but I know JR had been having problems for years. I tangentially knew him (mutual friends) and just from the few times I met him, I can’t say this is a surprise. I hope he’s found peace.

  5. Great article, also in Scientific American, on why people commit suicide. Not saying it applies in this case, but I found it really interesting:


    In particular, this:

    “You’re going to die soon enough anyway; even if it’s a hundred years from now, that’s still the blink of a cosmic eye. In the meantime, live like a scientist—even a controversial one with only an ally or two in all the world—and treat life as a grand experiment, blood, sweat, tears and all. Bear in mind that there’s no such thing as a failed experiment—only data.”

  6. JR was brilliant. I sat next to him in 8th grade science class and had the biggest crush on him! No doubt many pages in my journal are forever dedicated to him. Wishful thinking to go back to a time of such innocence. JR you are missed dearly..

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