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, Australia and New Zealand. Other writing samples are available on request. I also write scripts for SciShow.


Should you choose to offset your emissions, and where does the money go?

One option to ease the climate blow is to offset the emissions from flying. But it’s proved difficult to keep track of where the money goes and how effective the projects are, leading to offset programmes being labelled everything from dodgy to downright fraudulent. So how does offsetting actually work and how does our national carrier’s programme stack up?

Published by The Spinoff.

Our climate story: Life in Auckland and Southland in 2050

Climate models offer a scientific glimpse into the future but to really get a sense of what it will look and feel like, you need to go beyond the numbers. What do more frequent heavy rain events mean for a city reliant on its motorways? And what will a temperature rise of a few degrees in the country’s southernmost region do to its famous landscapes and the livelihoods of those who call it home?

Published by The Spinoff.

Surfers off Canada’s West Coast face significant risks of concussions

While most of the attention surrounding the risk of concussions has focused on hockey and football, surfers off Canada’s West Coast face significant risks of concussions according to international data and accounts from surfers and physicians.

Published by The Globe and Mail.
Image credit Melissa Renwick.

What Brain Banks Can Teach Us About Alzheimer's

Research at the Calgary Brain Bank bridges the gap between exploratory animal models and human clinical trials. It may also upend decades of thinking about Alzheimers in the process.

Published by BrainFacts.

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.

A White House Report on the Opioid Crisis Overlooks Gender Differences in Addiction

The report excludes studies showing that women experience pain and develop addictions differently than men—differences that mean women might not receive adequate treatment.

Published by Tonic.

The World’s Most Precise Clock Reveals the Nature of Time and the Universe

Physicist Jun Ye built the world’s most precise clock and is part of the group of scientists who changed our understanding of time itself.

Published by Motherboard.

Can ‘calorie labels’ on slot machines promote healthier gambling?

Two University of Waterloo professors are determined to figure out the best way to educate players about the addictive properties of the games and how much money they might win or lose

Published in The Record.

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 The Cut.

Feeding Cows Space Food Could Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Scientists want to bring back an environmentally friendly food source NASA tested on its astronauts in the 1960s: bacteria. Germs never tasted so good.

Published by Motherboard.

We Talked to a Scientist Who Makes Those Incredibly Satisfying Computer Animations

Computational physics can be used to test the strength of bridges, make hyper-real animated films, and blow your mind.

Published by Motherboard.

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 by Seeker.


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.

Burden of Proof

As scientific understanding of animal emotion grows, expert witnesses in court cases have more power than ever to show that animals have suffered without the need for physical evidence alone. But they need to know how to build a strong case.

Published in VetScript Magazine.

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.