Yup, that’s me. But do you see what is actually happening in this portrait?
The lighting, the dark background, the slightly squinching eyes. All of this was practiced and repeated dozens of times. I even learned how to push my lower jaw forwards to make my double chin look less prominent. This picture was the final choice out of nearly 100 shots, a construction, an attempt to create a particular impression: curious, serious, hard to fool — an investigative mind. What this picture shows is how appearances can be constructed. And it is the job of scientists and journalists alike to dig below the surface and find hidden truths.
Despite the artful construction of my appearance in this portrait, I actually do provide a rare combination investigative and writing skills. I hold a PhD in Neuroscience from Oxford University and used to be an active researcher there. In 2014, I took the leap out of the ivory tower of academia and started writing full time, mostly science stories but recently also a couple of investigative stories. I publish in German newsmedia and magazines such as the Neue Züricher Zeitung, Spektrum der Wissenschaft, Technology Review and Tagesspiegel.