Hold science writing contest annually

The Asian Scientist Writing Prize is an effective way to show recognition to and promote outstanding science writing in Asia (26 bag prizes in science writing contest; July 8).

Given the seemingly overwhelming response - 227 entries from 16 countries and territories - perhaps the organisers should consider changing the writing competition from once every two years to once a year to allow more interested folk to participate.

Maybe the word limit could be reviewed so participants can explain concepts in a more elaborate way.

Dr Jorge Cham, famous for his comic strip Piled Higher And Deeper, spoke at the awards event and related a story of his chance meeting with the scientist involved in the discovery of the Higgs boson particle while on a long bus ride in the Middle East.

The meeting resulted in him being commissioned to use comics to explain this complex science topic to people.

If he had not started the conversation with this stranger on the bus, we may not have got such an easy way to understand the topic.

While we are often told not to speak to strangers, and we often ignore strangers on the street, we should perhaps rethink this mentality.

Chance meetings can lead to serendipitous collaborations. It is also important in today's rapidly globalised world to network extensively and not restrict ourselves when meeting people.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2017, with the headline 'Hold science writing contest annually'. Print Edition | Subscribe