Carl Zimmer

Guest: Carl Zimmer, Author, New York Times Science Journalist


00:00 Carl explains why he was such a jerk during his first meeting with a genetic counselor

08:40 How one inconvenient girl became an icon of genetic degeneracy, and how her story inspired America to new lows. Also, Carl and Laura agree that Nazis are bad.

17:13 Carl and Laura compare their favorite weird mosaicism stories.

22:10 Contemplating the genealogy craze and what it does or does not say about our theories of race.

31:45 Laura attempts to get Carl to pick a side in the contentious world of epigenetics (but, spoiler, he does not)

Carl Zimmer is a master at describing the sort of shiny objects that obsess the sci-curious: children that leave neurons behind in their mother’s brain, mice that pass memories down in their sperm, his own Neanderthal DNA. But the heft and depth of his new book, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh (and it is a hefty tome!) is that the shiny objects are merely the way in to big, complicated stories told in straightforward, engaging prose. So the tale about the giant’s bones turns into a discussion of the thorny topic of calculating heritability. And that crazy mouse experiment? Carl bravely tackles the contentious debate between epigenetic researchers and their naysayers.