Austin Whittall Bio
I am an industrial engineer from the University of Buenos Aires, which gives me a solid background in physics, chemistry, advanced maths, statistics, industrial processes, and business administration.
For over 35 years I have worked in the chemical industry in different roles in sales and marketing of specialty and commodity chemicals.
My work experience in major chemical companies is challenging and exposes me to many different industries around the world. I really enjoy it!
Among my many interests, I'd like to highlight Travel, History, Geography, and of course Science.
I am a native Argentine and live in Buenos Aires. I am happily married to Perla and together we have raised four children. We enjoy cooking, traveling, and hanging out together.
Fluent in both Spanish and English, I enjoy a multicultural viewpoint on many issues.
My interest in healthy lifestyles dates back to my youth and I have taken many training courses to enhance and diversify my knowledge in this field.
Memberships and Associations
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
I am a member of the AAAS, the largest multidisciplinary scientific society in the World. Its members share the belief that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can help solve many of the challenges the world faces today. AAAS seeks to "advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people."
American Nutrition Association
The American Nutrition Association believes that personalized nutrition can have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. I joined ANA as a Nutrition Enthusiast.
Association of Health Care Journalists
The Association of Health Care Journalists is a not-for-profit, independent organization that advances the cause of public understanding of health care issues, striving to improve the accuracy, quality, and visibility of health care writing, editing, and reporting.
As a member, I adhere to its high standards of health care journalism and its Statement of Principles.
I am a member and supporter of Engaged Patients, a non-profit organization that promotes the education of patients, the public, and caregivers on healthcare safety and quality, promoting partnerships and aiming at reducing health care issues.
EngagedPatients.org has activities, resources, courses designed to help patients, caregivers, and industry professionals learn about the important issues in today's medical care system.
Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG)
As a celiac, I understands what it's like to live with this condition. My goal is to be a strong advocate for those with celiac disease ao I joined the Gluten Intolerance Group to keep abreast of the latest news and development in the Gluten-Free world. You can join too!.
Institute of Personal Trainers (IPT)
The Institute of Personal Trainers is the worlds leading business course specifically created to help fitness industry professional get better at business
International Society for Digital Health (ISDH)
I participate as an Associate Member of the International Society for Digital Health a collaborative network of professionals, academics, and students interested in improving global healthcare through the development and evaluation of safe and effective digital technologies. A multinational group that brings together insights and innovative technologies and methods that promote the worldwide adoption of smarter, better digital health.
International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
The International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health fosters the exchange of ideas begtween stakeholders in the health community (scientists, students, clinicians, and public health professionals), who want to use evolutionary insights to improve medical research and practice, and to use studies of human health and disease to advance evolutionary biology.
I joined ISEMPH to learn more about the connection between evolutionary biology and human health.
Nonfiction Authors Association
The Nonfiction Authors Association, provide valuable education, resources, and a supportive community for authors of nonfiction books. I joined the NAA to learn more about writing, publishing, and marketing nonfiction works and to network and connect with fellow non-fiction authors.
Society for Health Communication
The Society for Health Communication is an organization that brings together health communication professionals, students, and scholars from the diverse areas of teaching, research, and practice.
The SHC connects individuals working in public health, healthcare, medical communications, digital health, health communication research, and academia to build new relationships and share knowledge.
I joined SHC to help promote behaviors and practices that advance the health and well-being through Health Communication.
Voices for Vaccines
Voices for Vaccines is a Pro-Vaccine organization that provides clear, science-based information about vaccines, vaccine-preventable diseases for parents, and advocates the importance of on-time vaccination.
I support vaccination and believe that evidence-based data will help vaccine-hesitant parents to overcome the misinformation spread by social media.
International Travel Writers Alliance
The International Travel Writers Alliance is the world's largest association of professional travel journalists.
It celebrates the diversity between different communities and cultures and finds common ground to build close ties across the globe.
Internet Professional Publishers Association
I joined the Internet Professional Publishers Association in 2002 to improve my experience and learn the best practices for publishing quality content on the Internet.
The IPPA is an association of design and technology professionals working in New Media and the Internet; it is also a forum for communication and discussions about the future of the Internet, e-commerce, e-business, and the digital revolution.
International Web Association & the HTML Writers Guild
Internet Web Association and the HTM Writers Guild joined in 2001 to form the premier association for the growth and development of the Web profession, creating ethical and professional standards. IWA-HWG goals: contribute to the development, integrity, and the advancement of the Web profession.
Spanish Health Webmasters Society
The Sociedad de Webmasters Sanitarios was established in Spain to unite webmasters of websites with health content, encourage communication, promote the profession, enhance the learning and skills of its members.
Lifelong learning is important; it helps you develop your personal skills, enjoy personal fulfillment, and expand your knowledge. It is fun and opens your mind to new horizons.
I am a firm believer in continued learning, and I have taken many training courses in the Health, Wellness, Nutrition, and Fitness fields. I list some of them below:
Autism 101, Online Course by the Autism Society.
Eating to win: activity, diet, and weight control, The Open University.
Exercise and mental health, The Open University.
The science of nutrition and healthy eating, The Open University.
Improving aerobic fitness, The Open University.
Nutrition: vitamins and minerals, The Open University.
Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness, The Open University.
Sit Less, Get Active, University of Edinburgh, Coursera.
Basic Nutrition Concepts, Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello, Chile. Open Education.
Writing Skills for Health Care Professionals, Concordia University. Open Education
My first dabblings in writing and editing began in 1976, with a high school friend we "published" a weekly spoof magazine and also wrote some serious work on the possibility of life on Mars (the Viking landers had reached Mars that year) and our skeptical point of view on UFOs. We used carbon copies and a Smith Corona typewriter in our endeavors.
In the mid 1990s, I wrote a monthly newsletter for my customers to keep them updated on market and business trends and more formal ISO Quality Management System procedures.
During the late 1980s, I began writing on highly technical material to support my specialty chemicals' marketing and sales in different industries (from rubber compounding and petrochemicals to coatings and thermoplastics). I am experienced in a variety of formats which include case studies, executive summaries, product bulletins, web content, meeting reports, and QMS documents.
My first incursion into the Internet took place in 1997 when I taught myself HTML to write my first Geocities webpage.
In 2000, as a hobby, I created my first "real" website (www.rotrek.com) which was a great resource for planning a trekking expedition in Argentina's Patagonia region.
In 2009 I embarked on a pet-project: write a non-fiction book about the mythical beings of Patagonia. I read countless historical travel journals from the early 1500s to the early 1900s, and books on the Native American myths of the Mapuche, Aonikenk, Gennakeknk, Teushen, Chono, Selknam, Haush, Yagan, and Alakaluf people.
During my research, I contributed a translation of an ancient Spanish manuscript to darwin-online.org.uk, the largest edition of Charles Darwin's work.
My Book's Citations
I am proud that my ethnic work on Patagonia has been cited in several works:
- America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization by Graham Hancock.
- Morbid Magic: Death Spirituality and Culture from Around the World by Tomás Prower.
- Freedom, 25,000 BC: Out From the Shadow of Popocatépetl and People in the Americas Before the Last Ice Age Glaciation Concluded: An Emerging Western Hemisphere Population Origin Paradigm, both by Bonnye Matthews.
- Patagonia a sangre fría: Cuentos criminales en el lejano Sur by Gerardo Bartolomé.
- It's true: identifying weird stuffed carnivorans is often not easy by paleozoologist Darren Naish; about the Fuegian dog.
- The Relationship Between the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and the Horse: Deconstructing a Eurocentric Myth by Collin, Yvette Running Horse. University of Alaska Fairbanks, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2017. Indigenous Horses (see pp 39-40)
- El río Piraí de la ciudad de Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia by Ruvi Yndira Suárez Subirana, on South America during the Miocene (see page 55).
- Andiperla willinki, an insect, cited by the Chilean government's Ministry of Environment (see page 4).
- The New World mythology in Italian Epic Poetry: 1492-1650 by Carla Aloè (pp. 117, 161).
- Horizonte cultural mapuche Desde su formación hasta el tiempo actual by Alberto Trivero Rivera (p. 272).
- Jorobas, cuellos largos y fantasías. La leyenda de "Nahuelito", la Bestia lacustre del Nahuel Huapi by Fernando Jorge Soto Roland , in La Razón Histórica (magazine), #31, 2015. ISSN 1989-2659. Instituto de Política social. (see pp 66, 71, 79, 82).
My book was also mentioned by Ouropenroad.com as one of the top reference books on Patagonia; I am very proud to be next to Bruce Chatwin's "In Patagonia" and the Lonely Planet guides!
In my spare time I designed the layout and wrote the content and the hypertext (learning HTML-5 and advanced CSS to do so) of two travel websites dedicated to Road Trips; one about Argentina's Ruta 40 in 2010, and another about U.S. Route 66 in 2014.
My wife and I love to travel, we hit the road and let it take us to new places. Roadtrips are unique; you learn about enjoying things at a leisurely pace, that it is more about the journey than the destination.
I polished my marketing skills in a new environment: the online world, and learned about SEO and digital marketing. I also joined the International Travel Writers Alliance to improve my writing skills.
I also translated several books by Rodolfo Kohn (from Spanish to English) and also published an E-book on how to plan a road trip.
My Ruta 40 website was mentioned and reviewed in the Oct. 2013 special issue of Lugares, a travel magazine (Lugares, Especial de la Ruta 40 - see issue's cover).
In 2013 I wrote an essay "Proposal to make Ruta Nacional 40 a scenic byway" and published it on my website. To my surprise, it was cited in two bills (proposals for new laws) introduced in the Argentine Senate (S-1962 in 2015 and S-678 in 2018). These bills were introduced to establish a "National Program of Scenic Highways".
The essay was also cited in a scholarly article Propuesta de desarrollo de un parque temático orientado al transporte y las comunicaciones en el sudoeste de la Patagonia Austral Argentina by González P.E and Morales,V.H. in the International Journal of Scientific Management and Tourism (2018) 4-2: 315-348 (see page 22).
Several of these citations are referenced in Google Scholar.
Posts Published on other Websites
Vaccines: Which ones are safe?. The Wellness Universe, Sep. 13, 2020. A. Whittall. A short essay on the benefits of vaccines, the negligible risk associated with adverse effects. Plus a debunking of the fake autism-MMR vaccine link.
Hidden Gluten Sources That May Surprise You. The Wellness Universe, Oct. 23, 2020. A. Whittall. An article which teaches you how to detect hidden sources of gluten in your food. A must-read for celiacs (like me).
A Polymath or Generalist Approach
I embrace a generalist or polymath attitude towards knowledge and learning.
The dictionary defines a polymath as a person who knows a lot about many different subjects, but in today's ultra-specialized world, the polymath is regarded with suspicion and doubt. The old axiom "Jack of all trades, master of none" comes to mind when we come across a generalist.
But nothing could be further from the truth: generalists and not specialists have been the moving force behind many of the great changes that have rocked the world.
The list of polymaths is long, but I will mention a few to prove my point: Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Nikolaus Copernicus, Alexander von Humboldt, Mary Somerville, Henri Poincaré, Thomas Edison, Alfred Wegener, Erwin Schrödinger, and Thomas Edison.
These great polymaths inspire me in my active pursuit to expand what I know, to become an effective critical thinker. and a better version of myself.
The generalist point of view looks for common ground and links between different fields of knowledge. This usually provides a candid insight, one that is free from the prejudice of orthodoxy (from the Greek words "orthos" which means true or straight, and "doxa": opinion).
Polymaths are inquisitive, curious and their holistic attitude brings a breath of fresh air to the fields that they act in; they knock down boundaries and topple academic ivory towers.
I develop my generalist skills by adopting a T-shaped scope of education covering a wide breadth (generalism) of subjects with a deeper knowledge (specialization) in one field. I have found that this approach combines the best of both specialization and polymathy.
Some thoughts on Science Writing
Writing about science, health, and medicine is an art that combines both writing skills and scientific knowledge.
There are no formal degrees for medical writing. According to Sharma (2010)(1) training in this complex field is based on training and learning: short courses or workshops, on-the-job mentoring by an experienced professional, and mainly by self-training. Science writers are inquisitive and their self-motivation prompts them to learn more.
Science writers across the world have different backgrounds, and they become science journalists to explain obscure scientific concepts in terms that the general public can understand.
Some of us are engineers, some are journalists, others have a Ph.D. But all of us work hard to bring clear, straightforward content on scientific facts to our readers.
Curtis Crawford helpfully summarizes this:(2).
Explaining scientific advances to the general public is a worthwhile -even a noble—endeavor... Assimilating a piece of research published in the primary scientific literature and reorganizing that information to produce a successful piece of science journalism is an excellent exercise in summarizing information, simplifying complex material, and de-jargonizing your writing... The science journalist is essentially a teacher. Curtis Crawford, 2016
Indeed, writing is in a way, teaching.
Further Reading about Polymaths
Devakumar D, Russell N, Wolfe I. A renaissance for polymaths. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 2019;112(12):514-515. doi:10.1177/0141076819879682
David Robson, Why some people are impossibly talented, BBC, Nov. 18, 2019.
Andrew Robinson, A history of insatiable intellectuals, Science 28 Aug 2020:Vol. 369, Issue 6507, pp. 1064 doi:10.1126/science.abb7546
(1) Sharma S. (2010). How to become a competent medical writer?. Perspectives in clinical research, 1(1), 33-37.
(2) Curtis Crawford. (2016). Writing for a General Audience: Science Journalism.
If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phone: +54 911 31752840
Florida, B1602 Provincia de Buenos Aires
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First Published on September 06, 2020. Revision 01.
About this Article
My Bio, A. Whittall
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