Unraveling the genetic code

AuthortalkKean.2-14Why did Gandhi hate iodine? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium? Can genetics explain a crazy cat lady’s love for felines? How did radium nearly ruin Marie Curie’s reputation? How does DNA lead to people with no fingerprints, or humans born with tails?

Sam Kean, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Violinist’s Thumb and The Disappearing Spoon has the answers and will welcome questions from the community today, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Cole Auditorium at Greenwich Library. He will speak to students at Central Middle School earlier in the day.

Both of Mr. Kean’s books were named Amazon top five science books of the year. In addition, Mr. Kean and his work have been featured on NPR’s Radiolab, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air. After his Greenwich visit, Mr. Kean will head to SXSW 2013 in Austin, Texas.

The Violinist’s Thumb explores human genes and DNA: Did the human race almost go extinct? How did the right combination of genes create the exceptionally flexible thumbs and fingers of a truly singular violinist? Unraveling the genetic code hasn’t always been easy — from its earliest days, genetics has been rife with infighting, backstabbing and controversial theories — but scientists can now finally read the astounding stories buried in our DNA.

The Disappearing Spoon delves into every single element on the table and explains each one’s role in science, money, mythology, war, the arts, medicine, alchemy and other areas of human history, from the Big Bang Theory through the end of time.

Mr. Kean’s stories have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, Smithsonian Air & Space, and The New Scientist. He was the national runner-up in the National Association of Science Writer’s award for best young science writer.

[email protected] is free and open to all through the support of the Greenwich Library Board of Trustees and contributions by donors. Books are available for purchase and signing at each event through Diane’s Books. Seating in the Cole Auditorium is limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Marianne Weill at 203-622-7933 or Wayne Campbell at 203-622-7922 or visit Greenwichlibrary.org/authorslive.

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