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Staff Spotlight: Ben Ragen

Senior Scientific Editor, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Ben Ragen talks about his work as an editor of Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences and why art inspires him.

In a nutshell, tell us what you do for The Academy?

When I started at the Academy, I helped to administer the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists. I reviewed nominations, collaborated with expert scientists and worked with the winners to help convey their research to a general audience. I now work as an Editor for our academic journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, where I help find reviewers for manuscript submissions, give input on which manuscripts should be considered for publication and copyedit papers to prepare them for publication.

What has so far been your proudest accomplishment working for The Academy?

Since I’ve served in two capacities for the Academy, I have two different “proudest accomplishment” answers. During my first year on the Blavatnik Team, I collaborated with Blavatnik Award Laureate Heather Lynch to get her ready to present her research—on the use of satellite machine learning to find Antarctic penguins—to the audience of the National Blavatnik Awards Symposium. I’m really proud of that. And more recently, as an editor, I’m very proud of the first special issue that I conceived and organized, which was on the Biology of Social Behavior. What a thrill for me when the first article of that special issue was published!

Why, in general, are you proud to work for The Academy?

I find the dissemination of science critical for society. This is particularly important in the current environment where there is a high level of science skepticism. I also enjoy seeing the excitement and awe in my friends, family and acquaintances when I tell them about the science I am discovering and reading.

What do you think science is so import to society?

Painting by Ben Ragen

Scientific discoveries have been crucial to improve the health of society. My family, like so many others in the world, have experienced illness and daily life challenges. Whenever someone I know recovers I always say, “YAY SCIENCE!” It’s a way to express my gratitude for all of the work, brilliance and creativity that scientists have brought to the table.

Which scientist (or scientists) would you most like to have dinner with and why?

A dinner with biologist, naturalist and author David Attenborough would be amazing.  As he is a fantastic storyteller, I would be able to listen to his incredible journeys observing the natural world, animal interactions and adventures.   

What hobbies or interests do you have outside of work?

I’m a painter and have shown and sold my work in local neighborhood art festivals.


Academy Staff
This article was written by a member of the Academy staff.