Carl Zimmer – Viruses and Other Little Things

February 4, 2013

This year’s flu season has been dubbed the worst in recent history, despite the fact that the flu vaccine is fairly effective and readily available. But of course, not everyone experiencing flu-like symptoms actually has the flu—with so many cold viruses and bacterial infections being passed around, it seems that everyone has been sick this January. Long nights, low humidity, holiday parties all combine to create the perfect breeding ground for the tiny organisms that make us miserable.

Singers like myself are particularly sensitive to illnesses that make it impossible for us to do our jobs and so, as I traveled to Raleigh last week for a conference of science writers, journalists, bloggers and broadcasters, I couldn’t help but think about bugs and viruses in between hand washings. It’s no surprise then, that when I had the opportunity to chat with one of the most prolific and popular science writers in the world—Carl Zimmer—we climbed through the looking glass and into the microscopic realm of germs.

Carl Zimmer is an award-winning science writer whose work is often published in the New York Times, National Geographic, Time, Scientific American, and other outlets.

His books include a history of neuroscience called Soul Made Flesh, Parasite Rex, and Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

He is also a co-author of 3 critically-acclaimed textbooks on evolution and his popular blog The Loom is now hosted by National Geographic. A popular public speaker and a frequent guest on Radiolab and This American Life, Zimmer is also the only science writer after whom a species of tapeworm has been named.

Links Mentioned in this Episode

The Loom