Total befuddlement at quantum mechanics during his junior year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led John to switch from a planned career in physics to science writing. After earning a master's degree from Boston University's science journalism program and internships at Science News and Science, he became Science's New England correspondent, initially focusing on biology and biomedical research and later on astronomy. Then for almost a decade, he covered biology at Science News before returning to Science as a deputy news editor coordinating the journal's biology news coverage.

From 2007 to 2011, he was the European news editor at Science's U.K. office in Cambridge, and now is back in the DC office editing biology again.

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