Mirjam Guesgen

Freelance Science Writer

I am a freelance science writer currently based in Toronto, Canada, with a particular interest in animal welfare.

I love communicating complex, scientific ideas in an engaging, balanced, thought-out and informative way.



The following are examples of articles and magazine pieces I have written for publications in Canada, the United States and New Zealand. Other writing samples are available on request. I also write scripts for SciShow.


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Our DNA Might Be the Most Valuable Thing in a Trade Deal With Aliens

Or, how to avoid a “Mars Attacks”-style bloodbath when we eventually encounter extraterrestrials.

Published in Motherboard.

Greener Pastures

In the age of the conscious consumer, who, less than a decade ago cried out against battery cage hens, can we tolerate a cow being tethered inside all day? And why has Canada, unlike many other countries, made so little headway in getting cows outdoors?

Published in the Spring issue of Maisonneuve Magazine
Image credit Alexis Aubin.



Here Are the Necessary Ingredients for a Life-Supporting Exoplanet

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, TESS for short, will add a powerful new tool to the hunt for Earth-like planets. Here’s how scientists are going about identifying habitable exoplanets.

Published on Seeker.

Cracking the Code of Your Pet’s Facial Expressions

Facial expressions project our internal emotions to the outside world. Reading other people’s faces comes naturally and automatically to most of us. What if we could just as easily read the faces of other living beings? Will there come a day when we can hold up a smart phone to our cat and know how he’s feeling?

Published in New York Magazine.

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Science advocates still battling to undo effects of science-phobic government

Nearly a hundred people braved the frigid weather to stand, sing and raise their signs about unvalued and underfunded scientists - perceived ills perpetuated by the former Harper government that still ripple through to today.

Full article available here.

All's Not Fair(trade) in Love and Chocolate

When reaching for a block of Fairtrade chocolate, we believe we are reaching out a hand to help poor communities shake off the shackles of poverty. However, ‘fair trade’  is not so pure or simple.

Published in Slic/ed by FED.


When beauty is pain

Animal welfare scientist Ngaio Beausoleil likens the life of a brachycephalic breed to spending your whole day trying to breathe through a pillow. She describes their daily experience as always being conscious of not getting enough air, and feeling suffocated during exercise. It hardly sounds pleasant.

Published in VetScript Magazine.

The Power of a Word

For many people, the idea that an animal is capable of feeling is not difficult to accept. However, the concept of animals being able to experience the world and having emotion (sentience) is a fairly recent development in our long association with animals. The inclusion of sentience in law is even more recent.

Published in VetScript Magazine.


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Saving Darwin's Mockingbird

Growing up in Mexico, Dr Luis Ortiz-Catedral’s childhood was spent outdoors, crawling under rocks to study the creatures beneath, and catching and taking home turtles, parrots and fish. Now saving species has become the Massey biologist’s life’s work and Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands the site of a career crusade – to save the critically endangered Floreana mockingbird.

Published in Massey Magazine.