(Photo by Geoff Smith.)
Today’s ScienceBlogger interview is with “science enthusiast and interpreter,” Brooklynite, and freelance journalist Orli Van Mourik of Neurontic.
What’s your name?
Orli Holmes Van Mourik, which only sounds like a mouthful until you hear my father’s name: Johannes Maria Willibrordus Van Mourik. (See what I’m saying?)
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I write for publications ranging from Psychology Today magazine to The New York Observer and dream about book deals.
What is your blog called?
What’s up with that name?
It’s a fusion of the words ‘neuron’ and ‘neurotic’—hence the blog’s logo: a brain in a jar sitting on Freud’s couch. I thought it was sort of a clever way of contrasting the old psychotherapeutic model with the new neuroscientific view of the psyche. But reader response indicates it’s less ‘clever’ than it is ‘hard to spell.’
How long have you been blogging, anyway?
Just over a year. Neurontic launched in January 2006.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m from San Francisco and have the tie-dye baby clothes to prove it. These days I’m living in Brooklyn Heights, which has got to be one of the most picture-perfect spots in the five boroughs.
Would you describe yourself as a working scientist?
No. I’m a science enthusiast and interpreter, not a practitioner.
Any educational experiences or degrees you’d like to mention?
I have a Master’s degree in journalism from NYU and a degree in literature from Mills College.
What are your main academic interests, in or out of your field?
The beauty of being a journalist is that you are interdisciplinary by definition, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d say: Neuroscience, Consciousness, Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology, Sociology, and Philosophy.
Last book you read?
William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism
Your idea of a perfect day?
Family, friends, sun, food, free wheeling conversation, creature comforts, time to read—that would pretty much fit the bill.
Your greatest habitual annoyance?
The forces of chaos that make simple things difficult.
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
If forced to choose, I’d have to go with Elizabeth Bennet.
Your favorite heroes in real life?
Too numerous to mention.
What’s your most marked characteristic?
What’s your fatal flaw?
My utter lack of patience.
Who are your favorite writers?
Someone stop me . . .
What would you like to be?
Financially free to follow my curiosity and write about the journey.