Feeling "inchoate stress" from interviewing politicians, Dreifus convinced her bosses at the New York Times
to let her interview scientists. Gathered here are nearly 40 interviews with not only widely recognized author-scientists such as Martin Rees and Stephen Jay Gould but also researchers rarely sought out by reporters. Disdainful of the interview candidates pushed on her by university flacks, Dreifus (among other approaches) would instead attend scientific conferences; one yielded a talk with an enthusiastic expert in birdsongs. Dreifus also seeks out lesser-known women scientists. If not always well represented in science, they are increasingly populating its disciplines, examples of whom, such as the director of the National Science Foundation (microbiologist Rita Colwell), recall, at Dreifus' prompting, the rampant sexism they have encountered and overcome. Although Dreifus does not have a science background, she is meticulous about doing preparatory work for each interview and often picks people who have not arrived in science along conventional routes, such as former cocktail waitress and NIH immunologist Polly Matzinger. A lively reprise from the paper's science section. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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"Claudia Dreifus gives readers the luxury of great conversation, and the necessity of personal bridges into the scientific world. Rarely has learning been so pleasurable."--Gloria Steinem
"This is a wonderful book, crackling with character, eloquence, quirk, and wit. You'll have fun reading it and you'll learn a lot without knowing what hit you."--Natalie Angier