The Loom

Archives for December, 2007

Science Writing Workshop Site Is Up

I’ve set up a web page for the workshop I’ll be teaching at Yale next month. If I had to sum up my line of work in four hours, a few things to read, and one writing assignment, this would probably be it.

Here is my first obituary in the New York Times, for Seymour Benzer. (It was pure coincidence, apparently, that they contacted me a couple days after I blogged about Benzer here.) It’s a nerve-racking experience summing up someone’s life in a few hundred words, especially a life as jam-packed as Benzer’s. Here’s one of many…

“"I did my Ph. D on olfaction in sea turtles, sequencing the olfactory receptor genes of the three species featured in my tattoo (leatherback, loggerhead and green). The “bubbles” represent DNA."–Dr. Michelle Vieyra, University of South Carolina. Congratulations, Dr. Vierya–your submission is the 100th addition to my Flickr set of science tattoos. Make full use…

My Daughter Is Now Officially Data

Back in 2005 my daughter Charlotte, then a four-year-old, took part in a study to see how kids stack up mentally against chimpanzees. I wrote about the ambivalent experience of watching her as both a father and a curious science writer in the New York Times. The emerging lesson of the study, led by Yale…

Stem Cell Magic

My latest conversation at bloggingheads is up–a discussion of stem cell biology and politics with Lee Silver, Princeton biologist and author of Challenging Nature. Check it out.

Tree of Life–Lost and Found

My bad–for some reason I thought my piece on NPR would air this morning. It was on the news tonight. And you can listen to it here.

Farewell, Seymour Benzer

The great biologist Seymour Benzer passed away yesterday. If you know Benzer, it’s probably through Jonathan Weiner’s masterful book, Time, Love, Memory, which focused on how Benzer discovered the influence of genes on behavior in fruit flies. But Benzer was one of those rare scientists who had enough time in his life for more than…

Last year I wrote about the emerald cockroach wasp, Ampulex compressa, which injects venom into cockroaches to turn them into zombie hosts for their parasitic offspring. (More posts on Ampulex here.) The scientists I wrote about have been trying to figure out what exactly the venom does to the nervous system of their victims, and…