Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sean Carroll at Davis

Went to a dinner last night that was in honor of Sean Carroll who is visiting Davis as part of the "Storer" lecture series.  It was the first time I have met Sean -- but I have followed him and his writing extensively.  I already found him to be one of the best of the best in science and in explaining evolution.  I really liked "The Making of the Fittest" and now he has a new one --- which I have not read but it sounds great.  It is called "Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for Origin of Species".  He was also quite entertaining at the dinner and handled being peppered with questions very well.  Alas I have to miss his talk today since I am at the Joint Genome Institute for a discussion about metagenomic sequencing of samples from Yellowstone National Park.  

Anyway - just wanted to write something because I found my brief interaction with him inspiring.  It makes me want to do more engagement of the public on evolution than I have been doing (I do some but he inspired me to do more). I also got to meet some of the Storer family who are the people who gave the money to set up the Storer lecture series.  It was also inspiring to talk to them - and good to see people giving money to spread knowledge in the life sciences.  It was overall a good day for me after being sick for a month and then spending two weeks writing grants ...

2 comments:

  1. Sean was, believe it or not, my undergraduate biochemistry professor (in 1991, I believe). Don't think they waste his time with that these days -- if he has to teach undergraduates at all, I'm sure it's a more relevant subject.

    I really like it how he is both a major force in actual science as well as being a popularizer. Too often science popularizers are people who don't actually seem to like *doing* science.

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  2. Aren't these moments of inspiration great? On the side of written scientific communication, I just read Lewontin's book The Triple Helix, which just beautifully describes how the environment is inevitably constructed by organisms and how genes and environment interact. I highly recommend it.

    Yes, the folks who excel both in cutting-edge research and the popularization of science are few indeed.

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