In the wake of my story in the Times on zombies and today in Slate on our inner viruses, I figured I had stirred up enough questions to try out Reddit’s feature, Ask Me (Almost) Anything. So I’ll be there
tomorrow Monday 12/10 at 3 pm ET. See you then!
I was recently interviewed by a BBC reporter about viruses and their potential to devastate or help us in years to come. The video is now posted, and you can watch it here.
Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich have a new episode of Radiolab airing this week. The theme of the show is heredity and its attendant mysteries. I had great fun telling the strange and tragic story of the early twentieth century biologist Paul Kammerer, who thought he could change the human race with the help of a midwife toad. (Some of my favorite sources about this tale and its present-day reverberations are here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
Science writer Sam Kean joins the Radiolab crew as well, along with some scientists doing fascinating work on mother rats licking baby rats, Swedes surviving harsh winters, and more.
Added bonus: my daughters Charlotte and Veronica helped read the program credits. They get their ability to pronounce “Jad Abumrad” from me.
I’ve embedded the show below–
TEDYouth is in its second year of putting together an afternoon of short talks for high school students. I’ll be joining in with a quick introduction to my favorite parasite. The event, which takes place in New York City, will be live-streamed–visit this page for more information for viewing. It will run from 1 pm to 6 pm ET. I’m scheduled to talk at 2:45.
I recently gave a talk in San Francisco about the future of viruses, based in part on my book, A Planet of Viruses. I talk about how deadly new outbreaks may emerge, how we may harness viruses for technology and medicine, and just how many viruses there are out there (hint: 10000000000000000000000000000000).
On Tuesday I’ll be in Hartford to participate in the Science on Screen series. It started in Boston last year, and now it’s spreading across the country. Each evening consists of a science-themed movie paired with a talk about some of the science involved. On Tuesday, Real Artways in Hartford will be screening the virus-zombie movie, 28 Days Later. And I’ll talk about what real viruses can do to their hosts. Details here.
My outburst last week about scientists trying to get reporters to sign a confidentiality agreement to see a paper on genetically modified food landed me on the radio. I spoke to Brooke Gladstone of “On the Media” for this week’s show. I’ve embedded the interview here.
Next Friday (August 31) I have the honor of taking part in the Kristine Bonnevie Lecture, an annual lecture held at the University of Oslo to honor the first female professor in Norway. I’ll be speaking along with Cori Bargmann of Rockefeller University, who has done hugely important research on the links between the anatomy of the brain and how animals behave. Details are here.
If there are any Loom-readers in Norway (perhaps a few?), I hope to see you in Oslo.
Last month I gave the keynote lecture at the annual meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections. The society has just posted it on Youtube. I’ve cued it up below to the start of my talk, which came after some welcoming speeches at the start of the conference. In the spring, when the society asked me for a title for my talk, I called it “From Page to Pixel,” since it would be about the changes in science communication over the past decade. But then Chuck Norris came into my life, and things changed accordingly, as you’ll see…