Award-winning writers take the stage to share their quirky, engrossing, and sometimes shocking insights about human anatomy and social psychology. Mary Roach, widely regarded as one of the country's greatest popular science writers, brings her infectious wit to a conversation with psychologist Maria Konnikova and journalist Jennifer Ackerman. Join us for an evening of laughter and unexpected revelations as these sparkling authors discuss how they transform complicated science into engaging literature.
Three-time Peabody Award winner, four-time Emmy Award winner, and Dateline NBC correspondent John Hockenberry has broad experience as a journalist and commentator for more than two decades. Hockenberry is the anchor of the public radio show The Takeaway on WNYC and PRI. He has reported from all over the world, in virtually every medium, having anchored programs for network, cable, and radio. Hockenberry is a noted presenter and moderator at conferences such as TED, Aspen Ideas, and the World Science Festival.
Jennifer Ackerman has been writing about science, nature, and human biology for almost three decades. Her new book, The Genius of Birds (Penguin Press, 2016)–a New York Times bestseller–has been called a “lovely, celebratory survey” by The New York Times and “gloriously provocative and highly entertaining” by the Wall Street Journal. Her previous books include Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body; Ah-Choo: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold; Chance in the House of Fate: A Natural History of Heredity; and Notes from the Shore. A contributor to Scientific American, National Geographic, The New York Times, and many other publications, Ackerman is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Nonfiction, a Bunting Fellowship, and a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Maria Konnikova is The New York Times-bestselling author of The Confidence Game (Viking/Penguin, 2016) and Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Viking/Penguin, 2013). Konnikova is a contributing writer for The New Yorker, where she writes a regular column with a focus on psychology and culture, and her writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, California Sunday, Pacific Standard, The New Republic, WIRED, Scientific American, and The Smithsonian, among numerous other publications. She is a contributing editor for The New Republic, a recipient of the 2015 Harvard Medical School Media Fellowship, and a Schachter Writing Fellow at Columbia University’s Motivation Science Center. She hosts the weekly “Is that BS?” segment for Slate’s popular podcast, The Gist, and has been a frequent guest on national television and radio. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University.
Janna Levin is a professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University and the author of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space. She is also director of sciences at Pioneer Works, a center for arts and sciences in Brooklyn, and has contributed to an understanding of black holes, the cosmology of extra dimensions, and gravitational waves in the shape of spacetime. Her previous books include How the Universe Got Its Spots and a novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, which won the PEN/Bingham Prize. She was recently named a Guggenheim fellow.
Mary Roach is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Her latest book, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, came out in 2016. Roach has written for National Geographic, Wired, Discover, New Scientist, the Journal of Clinical Anatomy, and Outside, among others. She serves as a member of the Mars Institute’s Advisory Board and her 2009 TED talk made the organization’s Twenty Most-Watched list. She was the guest editor of the 2011 Best American Science and Nature Writing, a finalist for the 2014 Royal Society Winton Prize, and a winner of the American Engineering Societies’ Engineering Journalism Award, in a category for which, let’s be honest, she was the sole entrant.