At the newly opened Bi-Rite Creamery, on the kind of warm winter day you regret wearing your hoodie and long underwear (instead of wishing you had put on gloves, scarf and a down vest),

the line was nearly as long as Tartine's.... They all must wish they had books.

Reading (for the second time), The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet, by Margaret Wertheim, one of her favorite authors. She recently heard her speak at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) annual meeting, which was held in San Francisco in February. At the meeting she spoke about bringing science to a more diverse public. From the National Science Foundation website: "Looking at readers of popular science magazines, [Wertheim] notes that the majority of their 17 million monthly readers are well-educated, well-off, white men. Meanwhile, some 70 million people read the most popular women's magazines each month. To Wertheim, if we are serious about improving the public understanding of science, we must go where the public is--in short, if the people will not come to science, then we must go out to the people."

Her favorite book of all time-- The Gold Bug Variaton, by Richard Powers. It's a take off on Bach's The Goldberg Variations and pulls together the disciplines of science, music, art and... (I can't read my writing for what else she said) in addition to having brilliant language. She noted that it's been said Richard Powers is the reward for a liberal arts education....and the greatest author you've never heard of.

She recommends the salted caramel ice cream.

Check out the blog for the book, She's Such a Geek, where she is a frequent contributor. (She's Such a Geek is an anthology of science writing edited by Analee Newitz and Charlie Anders.)

She also writes for the online science magazine, Inkling. The subtitle--on the hunch that science rocks.


Kristin Abkemeier said...

The other thing I mentioned about The Gold Bug Variations was that it has two love stories, too! And they're intertwined in a way, kind of like the double helix of DNA, which figures in the novel quite a lot. I've read the novel three times now, and each time I finish it I'm in tears.

Oh, and Richard Powers did win the National Book Award in November 2006 for his most recent novel, The Echo Maker. So hopefully even more people will have heard of him, though apparently he's much bigger in Germany than he is here.

It was really great meeting you today!

william said...