Guest 1: Dr. Robert Hagen, life in the universe

Guest 2: Dr. Carl Zimmer, origin of life on the earth.

The New York Times Book Review calls Carl Zimmer “as fine a science essayist as we have.” In his books, essays, articles, and blog posts, Zimmer reports from the frontiers of biology, where scientists are expanding our understanding of life. He is a popular speaker at universities, medical schools, museums, and festivals, and he is also a guest on radio programs such as Radio Lab and This American Life.

Zimmer is the author of twelve books about science. Soul Made Flesh, a history of neuroscience, was named one of the top 100 books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, and dubbed a “tour-de-force” by The Sunday Telegraph. Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea was called “as fine a book as one will find on the subject” by Scientific American. His other books include At the Water’s Edge, a book about major transitions in the history of life; The Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins; and Parasite Rex, which the Los Angeles Times described as “a book capable of changing how we see the world.” Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life, was hailed by The Boston Globe as “superb…quietly revolutionary.” It was a finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Science Book Prize. Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and the Huffington Post.

In 2009, Zimmer published The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution, the first textbook about evolution intended for non-majors. Edward O. Wilson of Harvard called it “excellent for students, the general public, and even other biologists.” Choice named it an academic title of the year. Since then he’s co-authored a majors edition with University Montana biologist Doug Emlen. Evolution: Making Sense of Life will be published in summer 2012. 

In addition to writing books, Zimmer has written hundreds of articles for the New York Times and magazines including National Geographic, Time, Scientific American, Science, and Popular Science. From 1994 to 1998 Zimmer was a senior editor at Discover, where he remains a contributing editor and writes a monthly column about the brain. Since 2003 he has written a blog called The Loom, now hosted by Discover. In 2012 he co-founded Download the Universe, a review dedicated to science ebooks.

Zimmer is a lecturer at Yale University, where he teaches writing about science and the environment. He was also the first Visiting Scholar at theScience, Health, and Environment Reporting Program at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

Zimmer’s work has been anthologized in both The Best American Science Writingseries and The Best American Science and Nature Writing series. He has won fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He is a two-time winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science Journalism Award, for his work for The New York Times and for his blog. His other honors include the Pan-American Health Organization Award for Excellence in International Health Reporting, the American Institute Biological Sciences Media Award, and the Everett Clark Award for science writing. In 2007 he was awarded the National Academies Science Communication Award for “his diverse and consistently interesting coverage of evolution and unexpected biology.” In 2011 he was elected to the board of directors of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

Zimmer lives in Connecticut with his wife Grace and his children, Charlotte and Veronica.

He is, to his knowledge, the only writer after whom a species of tapeworm has been named.

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