Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lynn Margulis on evolution, HIV and Luminous Fish

NOTE: I am doing some spring cleaning, and found this post that was saved as a draft back in March. I'm not sure why it didn't get posted.

University of Massachusetts professor Lynn Margulis has been making a blog tour to promote her first fiction book, Luminous Fish. Margulis is best known for endosymbiotic theory (which proposes that mitochondria in animal cells and chloroplasts in plant cells are derived from bacteria that were engulfed and formed a symbiotic relationship with other cells) and the Gaia hypothesis. More recently, she has sparked controversy by making statements suggesting that she is skeptical that AIDS is caused by HIV. Read more:

At each of the stops, Margulis answered questions from the blog's commenters - not only on her book, but on her views of science. It's not clear to me where she's stopping next. It looks like Skepchick was her last stop on the tour. The conversations are over, but the blogs involved have thoughtful readers so the Q&A is quite interesting.

Luminous Fish was released by Chelsea Green Publishing in January .
This collection of linked stories by internationally renowned evolutionist Lynn Margulis reveals science from the inside—its thrills, disappointments and triumphs. A largely fictional account, it draws on her decades of experience to portray the poor judgment, exhaustion, and life-threatening dedication of real scientists—their emotional preoccupations, sexual distractions, and passions for scientific investigation. The arcane, competitive world of research emerges from the shadows of its passive narrative into the sunlight of the personal voice of those who attempt to wrench secrets directly from nature. All of us who struggle to balance family, professional and social commitments with intellectual quests will be intrigued by the humanity of these tales.
The reference to Margulis' "decades of experience" regarding the "life-threatening dedication of real scientists" may refer at least in part to her marriage to scientist Carl Sagan, which was not particularly happy.
Sagan's first marriage, to noted biologist Lynn Margulis, suffered from his neediness and blinkered obsession with his career—she referred to it as "a torture chamber shared with children." He was estranged for long periods from three of his five children.
The Chelsea Green site has an excerpt and an interview with Margulis. Chelsea Green has also published two non-fiction books by Margulis: Mind, Life and Universe: Conversations with Great Scientists of Our Time and Dazzle Gradually: Reflections on the Nature of Nature (co-authored with her son, Dorion Sagan). Her next scheduled public appearance is a reading and book signing at The Inkwell Bookstore in Falmouth, Mass. on August 7.

See also:
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