Longreads Best of 2014: Science Stories

Longreads

We asked a few writers and editors to choose some of their favorite stories of the year in specific categories. Here, the best in science writing.

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Virginia Hughes
Science reporter and soon-to-be science editor at BuzzFeed.

The Itch Nobody Can Scratch (Will Storr, Matter)

I’ve thought about this story (an excerpt from Storr’s book, The Unpersuadables) many, many times since reading it. It’s superficially about Morgellons, a disease in which people think that they’re infected with bugs or fibers. But it’s really about the nature of disease and diagnosis, evidence and belief. It’s creepy, fascinating, and profound. The best part about it is the way Storr describes these patients and their delusions. It would be easy to make them seem stupid or crazy or worse. But Storr’s writing creates empathy and understanding. The not-insignificant downside of this piece: it makes you feel itchy.

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