Microcosm: The Book

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Science writer Peter Dizikes reviews my book Microcosm for the New York Times. It’s great to see that he gets it–i.e., he understands what I’m trying to do with E. coli in the book. I actually appreciate that more than a positive review. Fortunately, he liked the book, too, calling it engrossing, vivid, and adroit.…

Of Bacteria and Throw Pillows

The strange thing about E. coli, as I explain in my book Microcosm, is that it has played a central part not just in the modern science of life, but in the political conflicts over life. It may come as a surprise that a humble gut germ could get involved in culture wars. But you…

My Microbial Muse

The British edition of Microcosm is coming out on July 3 (Brits can pre-order here, and here’s a link for Americans). In conjunction with its publication, the Telegraph asked me to explain why I love E. coli so. Here’s why.

It’s nice to get book reviews in both the popular press and academic journals. I hope everyone will read my books, but I also hope that scientists will consider them good science. And, speaking of Science, the journal of said name just published a lovely review of Microcosm by the evolutionary biologist Daniel Rankin: A…

Hey Angelenos! I hope you can come out to catch my next talk about Microcosm. It’s part of the Zocalo lecture series. I’ll be talking next Wednesday, June 25, at 7:30 pm at the Skirball Cultural Center. Here are the details.

My recent post about a striking new experiment in evolution (E. coli evolving the ability to eat a new kind of food) is still drawing lots of commenters and links. Very cool! Not so cool are the claims that this experiment is evidence of creationism, made by people who have not actually read the paper…

The field of biology has been wildly successful by taking what’s called a reductionist approach, i.e., you tackle a small problem in isolation in order to gain insight into larger questions. In his new book, Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life, Science writer Carl Zimmer took that reductionist approach and applied it…

Thursday I’ll be heading up the road to talk about Microcosm at one of my favorite bookstores: RJ Julia in Madison CT. The talk is at 7, and it’s free. And for once I don’t have to fly to a talk. Here are the details. Hope to see some Connecticut Loom-readers there.

Breaking Boundaries

Imagine that mad scientists defied nature and violated the barriers between species. They injected human DNA into non-human creatures, altering their genomes into chimeras–unnatural fusions of man and beast. The goal of the scientists was to enslave these creatures, to exploit their cellular machinery for human gain. The creatures began to produce human proteins, so…

A reader of Microcosm blogs: I am literally only 12 pages in, yet Zimmer has already managed to make me catch my breath, clutch the book to my chest, and feel my eyes get a little moist from the emotional impact of it all. I wonder what a couple hundred more pages will do…