Who

I am an author, professor, and lecturer with interests in both the sciences and humanities. As an author, I have published books on a range of topics aimed at scientific, scholarly, and more general audiences. As a professor, I am somewhat in disguise, since I am non-tenured faculty, but my students, upon learning this, insist on still using the p-word, so I do so out of deference to them. I am an actual lecturer, however, and have given talks in many settings, institutional, corporate, and public. 

My current interests include:  geosciences, energy resources and policy, language studies, history of science, and intellectual history.  In past lives, I've worked for the U.S. government (GAO, Government Accountability Office) as a science policy analyst; an English and science teacher at a private academy in Tokyo, Japan; a translator (mainly Japanese to English) and editor; and as a consultant (petroleum geologist) in the energy industry (1985-2008). My education includes a B.A. in English from Knox College (Phi Beta Kappa) and an M.S. in Geological Sciences from Cornell University.  I have two sons, a rhodesian ridgback, and, despite its stubborn libertarian streak, a deep attachment to Washington State, especially the Puget Sound region. 

Scott L. Montgomery

About

What

My publications include 12 books, 73 monographs, and over 200 essays, articles, book chapters, reviews, and technical papers, most of which are listed on my CV here.  None of this includes the myriad other writing I've done--translations, film scripts (instructional), corporate manuals, and a host of confidential material that ranges from briefings to full-length reports.  At present, I am focusing mainly on books, as they allow for deeper exploration of a subject and tend to open many new doors for future pursuit. Thy also offer a greater sense of achievement.  Writing defines the core of my endeavors, and, to be honest, I do it for pleasure, ambition, and a relentless desire to contribute.  I've benefited in my research from several grants, including a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship (for the book Science in Translation).

Lecturing and giving talks define another area of work, and of interest.  During my years as a petroleum geologist, I gave many talks at various professional meetings, mainly in the U.S. and Canada.  This was expanded into non-scientific subjects after The Moon and the Western Imagination came out in 1996, at which point I was invited to speak at a number of local astronomical societies and in history of science classes at various universities.  Since then, things have expanded considerably as a result of my other books.  Most recently, I have given talks in Paris, Manchester (UK), Washington, D.C., and Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada). 


Finally, my current work also includes consulting in the area of science communication.  I began doing this work in the late 1990s, after establishing a reputation as an author of scientific papers, and taught several courses on scientific writing to professional groups.  More opportunities have come about since publication of The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science in 2003.  I've now worked with large corporations, small research groups, government organizations, PhD classes, and more.

Since 2004, I have also been a faculty member (Affiliate Faculty) in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. You can find a list of the courses I've taught, along with some of the lectures, on my Teaching page. This is not part-time work. I teach between four and six courses a year and have mentored many dozens of students through various senior-year projects. It is a great deal of work, and I derive a great deal of pleasure from it. Students in the Jackson School tend to be on a par with those in the best U.S. universities and are very rewarding to work with. Meanwhile, teaching is a far more demanding and humbling profession than most people realize, but it is exactly for this reason that it can be so affirming.  It is also heart breaking.  You are always losing those you've come to value. To be a good teacher, you must know how to grieve in silence, and often.

My Task Force class from 2011, which produced an excellent book-length report on nuclear power in Asia.  This was evaluated by Ambassador Thomas Graham, who represented the U.S. at key nuclear disarmament talks with the Soviets.

Where

​Born in Ithaca, New York, I spent my childhood in the Northeast (U.S.) and in the Washington, D.C. area.  Since college, I've lived in various parts of the country (D.C., Denver, Boston) and in Tokyo, Japan, eventually settling in Seattle, where my wife and I have been since 1986.