About the AuthorJonah Lehrer (b.1981) is an American author and journalist primarily publishing on science related topics. Lehrer is specifically interested in neuroscience, psychology, and the relationship between science and the humanities. According to science writer Simon Ings, "Lehrer fancies himself – and not without reason – as a sort of one-man third culture, healing the rift between sciences and humanities by communicating and contrasting their values in a way that renders them comprehensible to partisans of either camp."
Lehrer has published in a wide variety of publications. He is currently a contributing editor for Wired magazine (see “The Frontal Cortex” blog) and writes the “Head Case” column for the Wall Street Journal. He also writes for The New Yorker and is a frequent guest on NPR’s RadioLab. Lehrer’s work can be found in Seed magazine and Scientific American Mind as well.
Jonah Lehrer has an undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Columbia University and studied 20th century literature and philosophy at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
Books: Imagine (2012), How We Decide (2009), and Proust Was a Neuroscientist (2007).
- Under Pressure: The Search for a Stress Vaccine (7/28/2010) [long example] Subject: biological anthropology, stress, possible vaccine, neuroscience
- The Educational Benefit of Ugly Fonts (1/5/2011) [short blog] Subject: rhetoric (mentions McLuhan in passing), font changes, how we learn
- The Creativity of Anger (8/29/2011) [short blog] Subject: anger, creativity, neuroscience
- The Forgetting Pill Erases Painful Memories Forever (2/17/2012) [long example] Subject: Neuroscience, memory
- “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Rat” (From “Memory and Forgetting” episode of RadioLab 6/7/2007) Subject: Neuroscience, memory
Wall Street Journal Examples
- How Habits Hold Us (2/18/2012) [short example] Subject: habits as extreme learning
- Thinking Meta (2/16/2009) [long example] Subject: metacognition, neuroscience, rationality
- Getting Our Nitrogen Fix (3/4/2009) [short example] Subject: nitrogen, biotechnology, populations
Scientific American Mind ExamplesAll examples from Scientific American Mind are interviews conducted by Jonah Lehrer. These must be accessed through SLU libraries system.
- Learn to Think Better - Tips from a Savant w/ DANIEL TAMMET (Apr/May 2009) [Interview] Subject: languages, imagination, cognition
- Explaining Fiscal Foolishness w/ PETER UBEL (Apr/May 2009) [Interview] Subject: rational/irrational thinking, psychology
- Do Parents Matter? w/ JUDITH RICH HARRIS (Jul/Aug 2009) [Interview] Subject: parenting, child behavior, psychology
The New Yorker ExamplesNo short examples from the New Yorker. Also need to be accessed through SLU libraries system.
- THE EUREKA HUNT (7/28/2008) [long example] Subject: scientific discovery, brain function
- DON'T! (5/18/2009) [long exampl] Subject: Bing Nursery School, delayed gratification, psychology Your Future in a Marshmallow (From Fate and Fortune episode of RadioLab 10/15/2010) http://www.radiolab.org/2010/oct/15/your-future-marshmallow/ Relates to the marshmallow eating experiment discussed above.
- GROUPTHINK (1/30/2012) [long example] Subject: brainstorming, positive feedback, psychology
- “Seeking Patterns” (a segment of “Stochasticity” from 6/15/2009) Subject: “the hot-hand,” Stochasticity, Ann Klinestiver
- This connects to a Jonah Lehrer article about Ann K above (8/19/2007).
- Also relates to this Wired article for the “hot hand” topic discussed earlier in the segment (5/4/2011).
- “Spindle Cells” (a segment of “Animal Minds” from 1/11/2010) Subject: spindle cells (a type of brain cell), thoughts connecting to feelings
- “Limits of the Mind” (a segment of “Limits” from 4/5/2010) Subject: neuroscience, memory, synesthesia
- “You Are Here” (a segment of “Lost and Found” from 1/25/2011) Subject: neuroscience, developmental topographical disorientation
- “Cosmic Habituation” (5/3/2011) Subject: verbal overshadowing, memory, neuroscience
About the Author
Quammen’s work has appeared in National Geographic, Outside, Harper’s, and the New York Times Book Review. His column, “Natural Acts,” ran in Outside magazine for fifteen years. Quammen’s recent work has largely been book publications rather than periodicals, although he is a frequent contributor to NPR’s RadioLab.
David Quammen is a graduate of Yale University and was a Rhodes scholar, concentrating on the work of William Faulkner.
Books: Natural Acts (1985), The Flight of the Iguana (1988), The Song of the Dodo (1996), Wild Thoughts from Wild Places (1998), The Boilerplate Rhino (2000), Monster of God (2003), and The Reluctant Mr. Darwin (2006).
Harper’s Magazine Examples
- CLONE YOUR TROUBLES AWAY (2/2005) [long piece] Subject: cloning, genetic diversity, endangered species **Must access through SLU, Harper’s website won’t give access.
- Contagious cancer: The evolution of a killer (4/2008) [long piece] Subject: Tasmanian devils, contagious [parasitic] cancer, evolution
The New York Times ArticlesMost of his articles in NYT are in the book review section, with a couple in opinion.
- A Bear's Necessities (1/18/2006) [short example] Subject: grizzly bears, endangered species, genetic diversity
- National Parks: Nature's Dead End (7/28/1996) [long example] Subject: similar to above
- A Drink of Death (11/12/2006) [short examples] Subject: Steven Johnson’s novel on cholera. This is a review of SBJ’s The Ghost Map, which discusses cholera. However, SBJ did mention a similar topic around this same time in NYT (see below). Might be interesting for students to see why Quammen critiques SBJ to keep in mind for their own writing.
Outside ExamplesA lot of his pieces in Outside are more travel narratives that happen to deal with nature and aren’t really much about science (more about the journey).
- Reluctant Provider (6/1995) [short example] Subject: bamboo, reproduction, predators
- Looking at X Rays in the Garden of Eden (3/1999) [long example] Subject: Australia, geology, uranium, radioactive decay
National Geographic ExamplesArticles from National Geographic must also be accessed through SLU libraries system.
- RETURN TO ZOOTOPIA (11/2004) [long example] Subject: Darwin, Galapagos Islands Very few National Geographic articles are available. Some are reviews of other books, but several articles are not available through databases (at request of the rights holder).
- In the Kingdom of Eternal Blue Heaven (Dec 2005/Jan 2006) [long example] Subject: Mongolia, fish, ecology. Another example that is more about the journey than science. You have to get pretty far into the article before he starts talking about the science.
- Devil Tumors (From “Famous Tumor” episode 5/17/2010) Subject: Tumors, the Tasmanian devil article above from Harper’s
- Taking the Plunge (From “Falling” episode 8/20/2010) Subject: falling cats (how they survive a fall), gravity
- Gravitational Anarchy (11/29/2010) x Subject: revisiting the topic of falling cats from the “Taking the Plunge” episode.
- The Cell That Started a Pandemic (From “Patient Zero” episode 11/14/2011) Subject: HIV/AIDS
About the Author
Wertheim has been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, New Scientist, Omni, Wired, Australian Geographic, Vogue (Australia), Elle (Australia), and Glamour (Australia). She has also contributed to numerous documentaries about science and hosted a television show, “Faith and Reason,” on PBS. Wertheim has written less frequently in recent years, choosing to focus her efforts on lecturing and her work with the Institute for Figuring.
Margaret Wertheim has a B.S. in pure and applied physics and a B.A. in pure mathematics and computing.
Books: Pythagoras's Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender War (1997), The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet (2000), and Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything (2011).
The Institute for Figuring
- TED talk about Crochet Coral Reef (4/2009) Subject: crochet coral reef, global warming, hyperbolic geometry, abstract ideas, institute of figuring
- Crocheting in hyperbolic space: Exclusive interview with Margaret Wertheim on TED.com (4/20/2009) An interview continuing her TED talk with Kari Mulholland. Highlights the feminist intention of the Crochet Coral Reef at the end of the interview.
- The Institute for Figuring. Wertheim’s organization with her sister, Christine, that promotes the public understanding of the poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science and mathematics.
New York Times Examples
- Numbers Are Male, Said Pythagoras, and the Idea Persists (10/3/2006) [short example] Subject: issue of women in math and science, history of this issue
- The Shadow Goes (6/20/2007) [short example] Subject: light/shadow, physics
- Celebrating Puzzles, in 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 Moves (or So) (7/25/2006) [short example] Subject: puzzles, math, physics
- The Pope's Astrophysicist (12/2002) [long example] Subject: astronomers, cosmologists, Vatican Observatory Research Group, Jesuits
Australian Geographic Example
- Crochet coral and maths (1/6/2011) [short example] Subject: crochet corals, math. ** This article has a very pretty gallery of the crochet corals.
- Science & religion (10/1999) [long example] Subject: science, religion, Center for Technology and the Natural Science (CTNS)
- Universal harmony: The search for a mathematical description of everything (1/1992) [short example] Subject: mathematical description of the universe, physics, beauty
LA Weekly Examples
- Pharm Phresh (10/2/2002) [short example] Subject: pharmaceutically modified foods, plant reproduction
- Buckyballs and Screaming Cells (4/3/2003) [long example] Subject: sonic cells, yeast, physics, interspecies dialogue
- Space(F)light (12/4/2003) [long example] Subject: space, quantum mechanics, light
- Gut Reactions (4/2/2006) [short example] Subject: gut ecology, termites, alternative fuels
New Scientist Example
- Other Theories of Physics (1/6/2012) [short example] (article originally on published in New Scientist) Subject: Jim Carter, alternative physics, National Philosophy Alliance
About the Author
Zimmer’s worked has been featured in National Geographic, Time, Scientific American, Science, Popular Science, The New York Times, and Discover. He is currently a contributing editor at Discover, writing to a monthly column called “The Brain” and his blog, “The Loom.” Zimmer is also the host of a periodic podcast called “Meet the Scientist” for the American Society for Microbiology.
Carl Zimmer has an undergraduate degree in English from Yale University and is currently a lecturer on science writing at Yale.
Books: At The Water’s Edge (1999), Parasite Rex (2000), Evolution (2001), Soul Made Flesh (2004), Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins (2005), The Descendent of Man: The Concise Edition (2007), microcosm (2008), The Tangled Bank (2009), Brain Cuttings (2010), More Brain Cuttings (2011), A Planet of Viruses (2011), Science Ink (2011).
Discover ExamplesDiscover’s website does not have a very effective search engine. I’m choosing to use a database to find the articles instead. Zimmer has an ongoing section called “The Brain,” focusing on what seem to be neuroscience topics. Most are relatively short, but there are a lot of them available. I’ve only selected a few here, but there are many others if you don’t like these selections.
- What Came Before DNA? (6/2004) [long example] Subject: biology, RNA, evolution
- Testing Darwin (2/2005) [long example] Subject: digital organisms, biology, evolution
- Beyond the Savannah Mentality (10/2005) [long example] Subject: Carl Zimmer interviews paleoanthropologist.
- Could an Inner Zombie Be Controlling Your Brain? (10/2008) [short example] Subject: neuroscience, inner zombies (the unconscious brain). Could be helpful for students about conducting interviews.
- Stop Paying Attention: Zoning Out Is a Crucial Mental State (July/August 2009) [short example] Subject: mind wandering, zoning out, why this may be productive for problem solving. This piece relates to the decline effect article by Jonah Lehrer and the work of Jonathan Schooler.
- The Troublesome Bloom of Autism (3/2012) [short example] Subject: autism, neuroscience
Time ExamplesThe Time articles pose an interesting challenge. Through the databases, you can get the full text of the article, but no pictures. Through the Time website, you can often only get the pictures, but not the text because they require a subscription. So I’ve included links to both when necessary.
- The Ever Evolving Theories of Darwin (2/12/2009) [long example] Subject: Darwin, new discoveries in evolution, DNA
- The Secrets Inside Your Dog's Mind (9/21/2009) [long example] Subject: canine cognition, social intelligence, evolution
- Friends With Benefits (2/20/2012) [long example] Subject: animal friendship, evolution, reciprocal altruism
The New York Times ExamplesZimmer has articles of varying length from about 2001-2012 published in NYT. There are many other options available than the ones selected here.
- What if There Is Something Going On in There (9/28/2003) [long example] Subject: neuroscience (biology & psychology), traumatic brain injury, evaluating states of consciousness
- Looking for Personality in Animals, of All People (3/1/2005) [short example] Subject: animals, personality
- This Can’t Be Love (9/5/2006) [long example] Subject: sexual cannibalism, praying mantis, redback spiders
- Blink Twice if You Like Me (6/29/2009) [short example] Subject: fireflies, sexual selection, evolution
- Scientists Square Off on Evolutionary Value of Helping Relatives (8/30/2010) [long example] Subject: insects, families, altruism, evolution
- 2 Studies Point to Common Pesticide as a Culprit in Declining Bee Colonies (3/29/2012) [short example] Subject: bees, pesticides, population decline
- “In Defense of Cheats” (from “Parasites” episode 2/2/2006) Subject: parasites (wasps, nematodes, flukes, etc), defense of them
- The Wisdom of Parasites (Discover 2/2/2006) Short blog from Discover that further discusses the parasitic wasps mentioned in the RadioLab episode.
- “Random Rules” (from “Stochasticity” episode 6/15/2009) Subject: protein creation in cells, e. coli, biology, ordering of chaos.
- Expressing Our Individuality, the Way E. Coli Do (Time 2/22/2008) Related to the above, probably because of his book on e. coli.
- “An Equation for Good” (from “The Good Show” episode 12/14/2010) Subject: selflessness/altruism, why the family exists, evolution. Also see “Scientists Square Off on Evolutionary Value of Helping Relatives” (New York Times 8/30/2010).
- “Sleepless in South Sudan” (10/31/2011) Subject: deadly diseases, cancer, evolution, parasites. More a reflection on his life as a science writer than about explaining science.
- “The Cell That Started a Pandemic” (from “Patient Zero” episode 11/14/2011) Subject: HIV/AIDS