Hi! I'm Jon Clayden, a journeyman scientist and language enthusiast.


In my day job I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at University College London. I'm interested in the connectivity of the brain, how its wiring relates to its function, and how disconnection between brain regions can affect people's ability to go about their lives. Further details on my research, teaching and scientific publications can be found on my academic site.

I am also interested in science policy and philosophy of science. I worry about the incentive structure in contemporary academia, and how it might negatively affect scientific endeavour in the long term.

I'd love to write popular science but can't quite imagine having enough time to do so. Scientists whose books interest me include Steven Pinker and Steve Grand.


I inherit a fascination with language from my mother. As a teenager I set about trying to create my own language from scratch, which for some reason included several irregular verbs. Later I briefly explored Esperanto.

These days my main preoccupation is with language and style in science. I believe that precise writing doesn't have to be dull, and that objectivity should not entail uniformity. I set up Literate Science to provide scientific language services, but also to act as a platform for championing good writing in the scientific literature.

I enjoy reading what more qualified people have to say about linguistics. People I respect in this area include Steve Dodson (a.k.a. Languagehat) and Geoff Pullum.


I am a great fan of technology in general, and computer-related technology in particular. I'm a fairly hook-line-and-sinker Apple user, but I try not to go on about it. I find the creative possibilities of computer programming endlessly appealing, but in practice of course I spend a lot of time painstakingly tracking down bugs, just like every other programmer. I favour the R programming language, which has its origins in statistical computing. My public code is available on GitHub.

The cultural side of the Internet, its quirks and neologisms, is a source of fascination, delight, and occasional dismay.

Amongst the many luminaries in technology writing I particularly enjoy reading John Siracusa and Glenn Fleishman.


Susana is my partner, a proud Spaniard, and a fellow scientist. We live in Hertfordshire in England with our two daughters.

Photography is a significant hobby, although I'm rarely organised enough to get photos online anywhere other than Facebook. I'm interested in graphic design but have next to no talent for it. I wish I could draw better.

I enjoy writing when I can make time for it, and occasionally post my musings on a blog. The three most recent posts can be found below. I also post longer articles and short essays to Medium.