I am a writer working from my office in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My next book, The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery, will be published in August 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf in the United States and The Bodley Head in the UK. Articles from my research have recently appeared in the New York Times: Unearthing Prehistoric Tumors and Cancer's Secrets Come Into Sharper Focus.
My previous book, The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, is out in paperback, and foreign rights have been sold in 15 languages. The Folio Society has published a special collector's edition. My books have been translated into Italian, German, French, Portuguese, Czech, Japanese, Polish, Swedish, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Greek, and Thai with editions forthcoming in Turkish, Romanian, Russian and Arabic. Two of them were shortlisted for the Royal Society book prize.
Three of my articles for the Times have won the AAAS Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and one is included in The Best American Science Writing, edited by James Gleick. I've also written for National Geographic, Slate, Scientific American, Time, Wired, and The Atlantic. I appear on bloggingheads.tv with my friend John Horgan for a show called Science Faction, and my blog, Fire in the Mind, is at Discover.com.
My essay The Books in the Basement is in the collection My Einstein: Essays by Twenty-four of the World's Leading Thinkers on the Man, His Work, and His Legacy. Two others, Worshipping in the Church of Einstein (or How I Found Fischbeck's Rule) and On the Trail of the Illuminati: A Journalist's Search for The Conspiracy That Rules the World, were published in the anthology Secrets of Angels and Demons.
I described some of my thoughts about science writing in Inside the Black Box, which appeared in a different form in The Field Guide to Science Writing.
I am co-founder with Sandra Blakeslee of the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop. My observations about Santa Fe politics and other matters are in my anti-blog, The Santa Fe Review, which includes glimpses of the surroundings through my web cams.
Here are links to my shocking appearance on The Colbert Report and a video of my being pickpocketed by Apollo Robbins at a consciousness conference on the Las Vegas Strip. I wrote about the experience in Sleights of Mind.
What I'm writing.
What I'm reading.
Why I became a science writer.
The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery. Knopf, spring 2013. (forthcoming)
The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments. Knopf, 2008. Vintage paperback, 2009.
Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe. James Atlas Books/Norton, 2005. Norton paperback, 2006.
A Shortcut Through Time: The Path to the Quantum Computer. Knopf, 2003. Vintage paperback, 2004.
Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in 20th-Century Physics. Knopf, 1999. Vintage paperback, 2000.
Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order. Knopf, 1995. Vintage paperback, 1996.
In the Palaces of Memory: How We Build the Worlds Inside Our Heads. Knopf, 1991. Vintage paperback, 1992.
Machinery of the Mind: Inside the New Science of Artificial Intelligence. Times Books, 1986. Tempus / Microsoft paperback, 1987.
Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics. Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin, 1984.
I keep a list of my articles chronologically and by topic. Here are my resume and a biographical sketch (including a picture of my high school garage band and a letter from Richard Nixon). More ancient stuff, like a recording of my discussion with John Horgan about philosophy of science on NPR, is available online as are my Slate dialogues with Matt Ridley on the Human Genome Project and with Robert Wright on quantum computing. An NPR interview about Henrietta Swan Leavitt was broadcast on All Things Considered.
The best way to reach me is by email.