When I touch my finger to my nose I actually don’t want the signal from my nose to go too fast.
We tend to think of our experience as just sort of happening to us instantaneously, so I don’t think when I talk to someone that they are across the room and therefore there is a certain amount of time that it takes for me to hear what they’re saying. We just think that everything happens in real time, but you know the fact is that we perceive the world through this organ the brain and it works kind of like a telegraph.
One of the most interesting ways to get into the minds of scientists is to look at their tattoos.
I was very surprised to discover that a fair number of scientists have some very interesting tattoos and the way I discovered this was that a friend of mine who is a geneticist was at a pool party with his kids and he was in the pool and I noticed on his shoulder there was this DNA tattoo and I said that’s cool and he said, “Yeah, well you know what is really cool is that I’ve spelled my wife’s initials in the genetic code.”
Carl Zimmer is a science writer, lecturer, and frequent guest on such radio programs as Fresh Air and This American Life. His books include "Soul Made Flesh," "Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea," and "Parasite Rex." In addition to writing books, Zimmer contributes articles to The New York Times, as well as magazines including National Geographic, Time, Scientific American, Science, and Popular Science. He also writes an award-winning blog, The Loom. From 1994 to 1998 Zimmer was a senior editor at Discover, where he remains a contributing editor and writes a monthly column about the brain.
Zimmer is a lecturer at Yale University, where he teaches writing about science and the environment. He is also the first Visiting Scholar at the Science, Health, and Environment Reporting Program at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.
Zimmer is a Big Think Delphi Fellow.