Required Essay 1 Version 1 (RE1) due Thursday 1-25 at 1pm by upload, paper copy at 2pm in class!

You are a writer for Scientific American, and your editor has assigned you to provide a brief report on the events related to the revocation of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s security clearance in 1954. Your report should be a summary of these events written for a general audience, not an editorial or discussion of whether or not the case was decided correctly in your opinion. News reporting should remain objective and focused on the facts of the case. Your report should be based on the following sources:

1. “Letter on the Oppenheimer Affair”, reference [1]. 

2. “The Oppenheimer Case” , reference [2].

3. Material from the PBS Atomic Bomb documentary "The Bomb" , where applicable, reference [3].

Further guidance:

  • You will be graded on the content, clarity of your writing, and you ability to confirm to the writing style of Scientific American.
  • Writers for Scientific American frequently use active voice and short sentences. This creates text that is engaging and reads easily.
  • Avoid unnecessary words, especially adjectives and adverbs. A news report should present the facts of the case concisely and clearly.
  • A report of this length has no room for telling the reader what you will do or for repetition—just say what you want to say, once.
  • Your report should be at least 1.5 pages in length but must not be longer than 2 pages, when printed in the format specified in the Student Handbook, including the title, headers, and footers. To check this, you should print the exact version you are going to submit. If your paper is longer than 2 pages when printed, the score it would have received will be marked down significantly.
  • The Student Handbook provides complete guidance for preparing and submitting writing assignments. Before you turn in your essay, be sure to review the writing assignment submission checklist in the Handbook.
  • Audience: In writing your report, assume that your audience is generally curious about science and is familiar with scientific concepts at a high-school or early-college level. To get a sense of how Scientific American presents information and the style of its news and policy reporting, you may consult the following articles as examples:
  • Citation of sources: You do not need to give citations when the information you use is common knowledge. In deciding what is common knowledge, consider what is known by a typical University of Illinois student who is not a student in Physics 280. If in doubt, include a citation. As the sources you are to use in preparing this report are clearly specified, there should be no doubt about what sources are being used for this assignment. You may cite them simply by including the number of the source in brackets after a statement in need of citation rather than a traditional citation.
    • Example 1: This statement requires citation [3].
    • Example 2: “A direct quote from a source also requires a citation” [1].
    • Do not include a bibliography or a list of references.
  • Write your name (e.g., Jean Doe), the code for this writing assignment (RE1), and your Writing Lab number (e.g., WL14) in an identification block in the top right-hand corner of the top page. Use the following layout:

Jean Doe
RE1 WL14

  • Writer's memo. In addition to your RE1 essay submit a brief statement that responds to the following questions:
    • What is your previous experience in technical writing? In non-technical writing?"
    • What do you consider your strenghts in writing? Which writing skills would you like to improve?
    • What is your first language? How comfortable are you with writing in English?
    • Briefly list key steps to describe the process of writing this paper.
    • How much time did you spent on writing the paper?
    • Please identify challenges that you encoutered in writing this paper.
  • Title the memo: "RE1 - Memo".
  • The writer's memo will be on a separate page. Write your name in the same format as specified for the essay.
  • The memo must not exceed 0.5 pages in length.
  • Your RE1 writer's memos will help the 280 TAs to improve their responses to your writing.
  • In technical writing writer's memos can be used to direct specific questions for feedback to colleauges/experts reviewing the document. Assignments two, three and the research paper will be used in this course to practice communication between author(s) and reviewer(s).