In North Carolina, where I live, blueberries ripen between June and August. But I can buy blueberries throughout the year. That’s because most people only eat a few kinds of food, so farmers around the world grow the same crops, meeting the demand of consumers that live in another hemisphere. As Rob Dunn points out in his new book, that practice poses some significant risks. Continue reading “The Importance of Seeds: a Q&A with Rob Dunn”
Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren, is one of the best books I’ve read in recent years. It’s a book about science. And about plants. And about people. As I wrote in a review earlier this year, Jahren manages to find a balance between entertaining popular science and compelling memoir. That’s a tough combination to pull off, and a hell of a read.
Recently Jahren – who has relocated her geobiology lab from Hawaii to the University of Oslo – let me pick her brain about writing, blogging and how she balances her writing with her work as a scientist. Continue reading “A Voice with an Audience: an Interview with Hope Jahren”
Ecosystems are complicated. They involve myriad organisms existing and interacting within a particular place at a particular time. These are dynamic habitats, with populations that are constantly shifting. Continue reading “Find the Stories: an Interview with Ed Yong”
Summer is here, and for parents (like me) who have school-age children, that means finding ways to keep the kids occupied. And if those activities help to instill a love of science, all the better. So, what better time for finding a book of outdoor science experiments for children?
Well, folks, you’re in luck. Continue reading “Taking Science Experiments (and Kids) Outdoors: an Interview with Liz Heinecke”
I first visited the Peabody Museum of Natural History in the company of hundreds of science writers. The museum was hosting a social event for the annual conference of the National Association of Science Writers, which gave me the opportunity to explore its exhibits in the company of people who were exceptionally well-informed and gifted storytellers. It was the best possible introduction.
I visited again a few years later, this time in the company of family and friends. The enthusiasm our kids showed for the exhibits was contagious, as was my friend Jeff’s passion for discussing anything related to geology. I could have spent all day there. The Peabody, in my limited experience, is just that kind of place.
So, when I saw that Richard Conniff had written a book about the Peabody, House of Lost Worlds, I wanted to read it. And I had questions. Continue reading “The Peabody, Yale, and Natural History: an Interview with Richard Conniff”
Parents, particularly first-time parents, get a lot of advice – whether they want it or not. Some of that advice comes from professionals, such as obstetricians, pediatricians and nurses. But a lot of advice comes from less reliable sources. Continue reading “Science for Parents: an Interview with Tara Haelle and Emily Willingham”
A new book hit shelves on March 1. The book, Science Blogging: The Essential Guide, is specifically aimed at helping two groups of people: those who have already launched science blogs, and those who are thinking about launching science blogs. That said, the book would be useful for anyone interested in blogging – regardless of what the blog is about. Continue reading “The Book for Science Bloggers (or Anyone Thinking About Starting a Blog)”
Neurotribes is an ambitious book. It is, as Oliver Sacks describes it in the foreword, “a sweeping and penetrating history of [autism, Asperger’s syndrome and how those diagnoses are understood]. Grappling with such a sweeping topic is a challenge, especially when it is subject to public controversy. How does a science writer deal with readers whose fears have led them to discount science (as is the case with those who claim vaccines have caused an autism “epidemic”)? Continue reading “Why It Was So Mysterious: an Interview with Steve Silberman”
I just finished reading Hope Jahren’s forthcoming book Lab Girl, due out April 5. It’s somewhere between a popular science book and a memoir – two tricky genres. Either one, done poorly, can feel like impenetrable jibberish or self-indulgent navel-gazing. Luckily (though I suspect luck has nothing to do with it), Jahren handles both styles well.
Since most people read a book review to decide whether they want to read the book in question, I’ll give you some idea of what to expect from Lab Girl. Continue reading “It’s True, Hope Jahren Sure Can Write”