Microcosm: Ars Technica feature, and more podcasts

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 to a pretty big issue: life itself. For Zimmer, the system that serves as a model of all life, and of humanity's often uncomfortable relationship to it, is the unprepossessing gut bacteria, Escherischia coli. Covering all of life is a big task, and Zimmer made the challenge that much harder on himself by choosing to target the book to a general audience. Still, he handles the challenge extraordinarily well.

That's the introduction of John Timmer's review of Microcosm over at Ars Technica (a great technology and science site that was recently snatched up by Conde Nast). Read the rest here.

Timmer and I also had a talk via Skype recently not just about Microcosm, but about writing about science in general, and he's posted the interview (page one and two).

Meanwhile, on other Microcosm fronts...

My interview on This Week In Science is now online here. I jump in at about minute 32:00, but the whole show is worth a listen.

I also stopped by KUSP when I was in Santa Cruz, CA, last week, and talked on their show, Talk of the Bay. The podcast is here.

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Tomorrow is the publication date of Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life. I'll be celebrating by sending out some signed copies (details tomorrow), but in the meantime, here's an interview that just came out this morning about the book over at Newsvine, on the nature of life, how to…
From the blog of Steven Johnson, author of The Ghost Map and Mind Wide Open Go Buy Microcosm Right Now Carl Zimmer may be my favorite science writer around today (others seem to agree), so I'm excited to report that his new book Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life hit the shelves…
Three weeks away from the publication of Microcosm, and another kind review has come out, this time from Library Journal: To display a broad swath of the people, scientific processes, and discoveries involved in biology, science writer Zimmer (Soul Made Flesh: The Discovery of the Brain-and How It…
Microcosm: E. Coli and the New Science of Lifeby Carl Zimmer Pantheon: 2008, 256 pages.Buy now! (Amazon) I come face-to-face with Escherichia coli every day. In a sense, we all do--as billions of E. coli inhabit every individual's intestines. But for me, E. coli is a protein factory. I'm a…

In all this discussion of e coli, I still have seen no explanation of the normal pronunciation of the weirdly spelt main term involved. (Scientists aren't the only specialists who fail to do this, but it happens more often in their field that the pronunciation is hard to predict.)

So what is it? esher-ish-eeya; or eskeriskia? Coal-ee, or coal- I?

Or do Americans pronounce it one way, Brits another and Australians still another, a further common pattern? [quick - duck for cover]

By John Monfries (not verified) on 12 Jun 2008 #permalink