Jonathan Weiner went to Harvard University with the intention of becoming a biologist,
but found himself seduced by poetry. He went on to complete his degree in English
and American literature. Yet, his love for biology never abated. His first foray
into journalism was an article for Harvard Magazine
on that very subject.
He is now regarded as one of the best science writers of his generation. He won
Prize for General Nonfiction
in 1994 for his book about evolution,
The Beak of the Finch
. A mind for science and a heart for poetry is certainly
a fortunate combination for a writer, but Weiner also has the dedication and obsessive
attention to detail only found in the best scientists and authors.
In researching and writing Time, Love, Memory, Weiner spent nearly five
years at the California Institute of Technology, observing biologist Seymour
Benzer and his colleagues in what they call the Fly Rooms. Benzer who
worked with geneticists Francis Crick and James Watson to create the double-helix
model has dedicated his further research to the behavioral consequences
of genes how pieces of DNA actually shape behavior. Benzer has
often been labeled a maverick and his research includes groundbreaking work
with the genetic code of the fruit fly. However, there is no doubting that his
research is pertinent, particularly given today's interest in cloning. Weiner
addresses the many controversial aspect of this issue in an evenhanded, informed
manner. Time, Love, Memory is many things: a biography of Benzer, a peek
over the shoulder of scientists at work, and an ode to genetic science. It is
a compelling and whimsical ride, and the reader can't help getting caught up
in the infectious enthusiasm of Benzer and his colleagues, which bubbles over
throughout Weiner's text. Georgie, Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Beak of the Finch, the riveting story of a biologist's search for the foundations of behavior.Looking over the shoulder of some of the premier scientists in the field, Jonathan Weiner takes us into their laboratories to show us how pieces of DNA actually shape behavior. He focuses on the work of Seymour Benzer, who, decades ago, with James Watson and Francis Crick, helped to crack the genetic code. Then, in a simple experiment using a few test tubes, a light bulb, and 100 fruit flies, Benzer invented the genetic dissection of behavior. Now we see how he and his students find and study genes that build our inner clocks, genes that shape the way we love, and genes that decide what we can (or cannot) remember. These breakthroughs help explain secrets of human behavior and may lead to advance treatments for behavioral disorders ranging from rage to autism to schizophrenia.In a narrative that sweeps from the first years of the century to the present, Weiner makes the process of scientific discovery and understanding almost tangible on the page. Time, Love, Memory is a brilliant work of scientific reportage.
About the Author
Jonathan Weiner is also the author of The Next One Hundred Years and Planet Earth. He lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.