|Born||1966 (age 53–54)|
|Occupation||Popular science writer & blogger|
|Alma mater||Yale University|
|Children||Veronica and Charlotte|
Carl Zimmer (born 1966) is a popular science writer, blogger, columnist, and journalist who specializes in the topics of evolution, parasites, and heredity. He is the author of many books and contributes science essays to publications such as The New York Times, Discover, and National Geographic. He is a fellow at Yale University's Morse College and adjunct professor of Molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University. Besides his popular science writing, Zimmer also gives frequent lectures, and has appeared on many radio shows, including National Public Radio's Radiolab, Fresh Air and This American Life.
Zimmer describes his journalistic beat as "life" or "what it means to be alive." He is also the only science writer to have a species of tapeworm named after him (Acanthobothrium zimmeri). Zimmer lives with his wife Grace Farrell Zimmer and their two children, Charlotte and Veronica, in Guilford, Connecticut. Carl Zimmer's father is Dick Zimmer, a Republican politician from New Jersey, who was a member of U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 1997.
Zimmer received his B.A. in English from Yale University in 1987. In 1989, he started his career at Discover magazine, first as a copy editor and fact checker, eventually serving as a senior editor from 1994 to 1998. Zimmer left Discover after ten years to focus on books and other projects. In 2004, he started a blog called "The Loom", in which he wrote about topics related to his books, but later expanded it into what he terms "a place where I could write about things I might not be turning into an article for a magazine, but were really interesting”. The Loom has been hosted by Discover and National Geographic for many years, and was invited to be part of Scienceblogs in the past. It has been transferred to Zimmer's personal website in 2018. As of 2013, Zimmer writes a weekly column called Matter in The New York Times. Zimmer and the STAT project team have put out “Game of Genomes,” a 13-part series that enlisted two dozen scientists, with the goal of exploring Zimmer's own genome.
He has given lectures at some of USA's leading universities, medical schools, and museums. In 2009, Zimmer was the keynote speaker at Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS). He has also presented at NECSS 2011 and CSICon 2018. Twice, Zimmer has been a spotlight speaker at Aspen Ideas Festival, in 2017 at Aspen Ideas, and in 2018 for Aspen Ideas: Health. In 2009 and 2010 he was host of the periodic audio podcast Meet the Scientist of the American Society for Microbiology (replacing Merry Buckley). Zimmer's 2004 article Whose Life Would You Save? has been featured in the 2005 The Best American Science and Nature Writing series.
Zimmer is widely recognized as one of the finest science essayists and communicators, and has thus received numerous awards including the 2007 National Academies Communication Award, a prize for science communication from the United States National Academy of Sciences, for his wide-ranging coverage of biology and evolution in newspapers, magazines and his blog. For these same reasons, in 2016 Yale University appointed Zimmer Adjunct Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, stating that he is "a world-renowned science journalist and teacher, and his ability to make science, particularly biology, accessible to the general public is without peer". Zimmer teaches a science communication course at Yale since 2017 and participates in other Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry courses.
Opinions on science and skepticism
Zimmer publicly expresses his concerns about recent science denial, and notes that attacks on science "are in a number of cases well-funded campaigns, and some politicians are backing some of them for their own political ends.", where "climate change, evolution, and vaccines seem to top the list." He further says that each case of science denial is concerning, and says that some, e.g. spreading misinformation about vaccines to worried parents, leads to needless outbreaks of disease that even puts children at risk of death. Similarly, Zimmer considers global warming as one of the biggest societal issues of our time, as our children and their children will inherit not only our genes, but this planet too, and states that "We should think about tinkering with the future of genetic heredity, but I think we should also be doing that with our environmental heredity and our cultural heredity."
According to Zimmer there is a broader threat of these particular attacks on science, potentially eroding people's understanding of how science works in general: "If people come to see science as just someone else's opinion, rather than a powerful way of knowing based on evidence, then all sorts of trouble may arise."
In his keynote talk at The Rockefeller University on 6 September 2017, he noted that democracy, science and journalism are "three valuable institutions that have made life...far better than it would have been without them." He stated however that we should not take it for granted that they are free from corruption, and urged to keep them that way. Specifically, he stated that "We can look back through history and see how in different places and in different times, each of these pillars cracked and sometimes fell. We should not be smug, when we look back at these episodes. We should not be so arrogant, as to believe that we are so much smarter or nobler that we're somehow immune from this disasters." Zimmer is critical of politicians negative influence on science. Specifically, he is critical of Trump's anti-science stance, specifically his denial of human-caused climate change. Similarly, he is critical of Trump's appointment of science-deniers to lead crucial US environmental agencies, such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy. Zimmer is also critical of Putin's influence on Russian science, specifically Putin's "friendly take-over" of a Russian science magazine, Putin being the "hands-off chairman" of the Russian Geographic Society.
After publishing She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, in several interviews Zimmer was asked for his opinion about genome editing and CRISPR. While Zimmer thought that some gene-editing procedures, especially for conditions caused by single gene mutations, might provide simple ways to battle serious diseases, he urged for caution about intervention at the embryonic stage. However, he further pointed out the complexity of the issue and the need to address other countries' practices.
- 2017: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant for Public Understanding of Science and Technology
- 2015: Osher Fellowship, California Academy of Sciences
- 2010: Poynter Fellowship, Yale. Invited speaker, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
- 2006: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant for Public Understanding of Science and Technology
- 2005: Poynter Fellowship, Yale University. Invited speaker, Psychology.
- 2002: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.
- 2019: Science in Society Journalism Awards from the National Association of Science Writers for his book, She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potentials of Heredity.
- 2017: Online News Association's Online Journalism Award, awarded in the explanatory reporting category.
- 2016: Society for the Study of Evolution's The Stephen Jay Gould Prize, awarded "to recognize individuals whose sustained and exemplary efforts have advanced public understanding of evolutionary science and its importance in biology, education, and everyday life in the spirit of Stephen Jay Gould."
- 2015: National Association of Biology Teachers's (NABT) Distinguished Service Award, awarded to "recognize teachers for their expertise in specific subject areas, for contributions to the profession made by new teachers, and to recognize service to NABT, life science teaching, or leadership in learning communities."
- 2007: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Science Communication Award, awarded to "recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public", in the category Newspaper/magazine/internet
- 2004, 2009, 2012: American Association for the Advancement of Science's Science Journalism Award, awarded to honor "professional journalists for distinguished reporting on the sciences, engineering, and mathematics".
- 1999: The Pan American Health Organization's Award for Excellence in International Health Reporting
- 1997: American Institute of Biological Sciences's Media Award that "recognizes outstanding reporting on biology to a general audience."
- 1994: Everett Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Journalists, awarded "to encourage young science writers by recognizing outstanding reporting and writing in any field of science."
- Book Awards
2018: She Has Her Mother’s Laugh
- New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
- Ten Best Books of the Year, Publisher’s Weekly
- Amazon Best Science Books of the Year
- Amazon Top 100 Books of the Year
- Top Nonfiction Books of 2018, Kirkus Reviews
- Baillie-Gifford Prize for Nonfiction, 2018 Shortlist
- The Times Science Books of 2018
A Planet of Viruses
- Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2016
- Booklist Editor’s Choice, 2011
The Tangled Bank
- Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2010
- Finalist, Los Angeles Times Science Book Prize, 2009
- Longlisted for the 2008 Royal Society Prize for Science Books
Soul Made Flesh
- New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
- Best Books of 2004, Top Ten Editor’s Picks: Science, Amazon.com
Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea
- Best Books of 2002, New Scientist
- Best Books of 2001, Discover
- Zimmer, Carl (1998). At the water's edge : macroevolution and the transformation of life. New York: Free Press.
- — (1999). At the water's edge : fish with fingers, whales with legs, and how life came ashore but then went back to sea (First Touchstone ed.). New York: Touchstone.
- Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures. New York : Free Press, 2000 ISBN 0684856387
- Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea (2001) ISBN 0-06-019906-7
- Soul Made Flesh New York : Free Press, 2004 ISBN 0743230388
- Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins. Smithsonian Books : New York, 2005 ISBN 0060829613
- Where did we come from? : an intimate guide to the latest discoveries in human origins. ABC Books for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Sydney, N.S.W., 2005 ISBN 0733316476
- Virus and the Whale: Exploring Evolution Small and Large. Judy Diamond (ed); with Carl Zimmer [et al.]. NSTA Press: Arlington, 2006 ISBN 0873552636
- The Descent of Man: The Concise Edition. Carl Zimmer, Charles Darwin and Frans DeWaal, 2007 ISBN 1101213523 (electronic book)
- Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life London : William Heinemann Ltd., 2008 ISBN 0434016241
- The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution. Roberts, 2009, ISBN 1936221446
- Brain Cuttings: Fifteen Journeys Through the Mind. Independent Publishers Group, 2010, ISBN 1935622145
- More Brain Cuttings: Further Explorations of the Mind. New York : Scott & Nix, Inc., 2011 ISBN 1935622293
- A Planet of Viruses (2011) ISBN 0-226-98335-8
- Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed (2011) ISBN 978-1-4027-8360-9
- Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed. Reprint. Sterling: New York, 2014. ISBN 1454912405
- A Planet of Viruses. 2nd ed. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2015. ISBN 022629420X
- Evolution: Making Sense of Life. co-authored with Douglas Emlen. Roberts and Company; Greenwood Village, Colorado, 2016 ISBN 1936221365
- She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity. Dutton: New York, New York, 2018 ISBN 1101984597 
Essays and reporting
- Zimmer, Carl (March 2010). Photographs by Helene Schmitz. "Fatal attraction". National Geographic. 217 (3): 80–95.
- — (June 2013). "The mystery of the second skeleton". The Atlantic. 311 (5): 72–82.
Critical studies and reviews of Zimmer's work
- She has her mother's laugh
- Flannery, Tim (March 7–20, 2019). "Our twisted DNA". The New York Review of Books. 66 (4): 38–39.
- Zimmer, Carl. "Bio". Personal website. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- Viskontas, Indre (2013-02-04). "Viruses and other little things". Point of Inquiry. Center for Inquiry. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
- Zimmer, Carl. "A tapeworm to call my own". The Loom. National Geographic. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
- Zimmer, Carl. "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Carl Zimmer. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
- Josh Romero (February 2007). "Backgrounder: John Rennie and Carl Zimmer". Bullpen (NYU Department of Journalism). Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 2011-06-01.
- "Carl Zimmer". Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau. Penguin Random House. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
- "The Loom Ends. The Loom Lives!". ScienceBlogs. Science 2.0. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
- "Recent and archived work by Carl Zimmer for The New York Times". The New York Times. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
- "Game of Genomes". STAT. STAT. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
- Gerbic, Susan. "On Tapeworms and Laughter". Skeptical Inquirer. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
- "Aspen Ideas Festival | Engaging Ideas that Matter". The Aspen Ideas Festival. The Aspen Institute. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
- Zimmer, Carl. "Meet the Scientists". Meet the Scientists. American Society for Microbiologists. Retrieved 16 September 2016.[permanent dead link]
- Zimmer, Carl. "Whose Life Would You Save?". Discover. Kalmbach Media. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
- Balbach, Stephen. "Online Index to The Best American Science and Nature Writing Series". Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
- O'Leary, Maureen (2007-10-01). "National Academies press release". United States National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
- "World-renown science journalist, Carl Zimmer, to join MB&B as Adjunct Professor". Yale School of Medicine. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
- "Carl Zimmer Professor Adjunct". Yale School of Medicine. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
- "Ask the Author: Carl Zimmer". Goodreads. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
- Peikoff, Kira (2018-09-28). "Carl Zimmer: Genetically Editing Humans Should Not Be Our Biggest Worry". Leapsmag. Leapsmag. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
- "Science, Journalism, and Democracy: Keynote by Carl Zimmer". Youtube. The Rockefeller University. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
- Ball, Philip (2018-08-11). "Carl Zimmer: 'We shouldn't look to our genes for a quick way to make life better'". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
- "Maybe DNA can't answer all our questions about heredity". Wired. Condé Nast. 2018-05-28. Archived from the original on 14 March 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
- "A Science Writer Explores The 'Perversions And Potential' Of Genetic Tests". KUNC. KUNC. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
- "Grants". Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
- "Osher Fellows". California Academy of Sciences. California Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
- "Carl Zimmer". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
- "Carl Zimmer wins NASW Science Book Award". Skeptical Inquirer. 44: 9. January–February 2020.
- "Major Awards for STAT". STAT. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- "The Stephen Jay Gould Prize". Society for the Study of Evolution. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
- "2015 Award Recipients". The National Association of Biology Teachers. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- "News from the National Academies". News. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
- "AAAS Science Journalism Award Recipients". aaas.org. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- "Congratulations to Carl Zimmer - NCSE". ncse.com. 2012-11-14. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- "AIBS Media award". American Institute of Biological Sciences. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- "Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Journalists". Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. CASW. Archived from the original on 28 February 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- "A fascinating history of heredity research reveals the field's highs and lows". Science Magazine.
- Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carl Zimmer.|
- Carl Zimmer official website
- Phenomena: The Loom Zimmer's blog at National Geographic
- List of video conversations and debates with Zimmer and others on Bloggingheads.tv
- Color images of viruses from his book, A Planet of Viruses
- Career advice for those looking to get into science journalism offered by Carl Zimmer
- Appearances on C-SPAN