Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer's picture
Professor (Adjunct) of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Lecturer in English

Carl Zimmer is the science columnist for the New York Times. In addition to his work for the Times, Zimmer’s writing has appeared in magazines including National Geographic, Wired, The Atlantic, and Scientific American. His articles have been anthologized in both The Best American Science and Nature Writing series and The Best American Science Writing series.

Zimmer is also the author of 14 books about science. His latest book is Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive. His previous book, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, won the National Academies Communication Award and the Science in Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers. It was also selected by the Guardian as the best science book of the year, and was a finalist for the Baillie-Gifford Prize for Nonfiction and the PEN/EO Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

His other books include At the Water’s EdgeParasite RexEvolution: The Triumph of an IdeaSoul Made Flesh, and Microcosm. He has won fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for his books. 

Zimmer is also a three-time winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award. In addition, Zimmer has been awarded the Stephen Jay Gould Prize, an Online Journalism Award, and the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers.

“Writing about Science, Medicine, and the Environment,” an undergraduate seminar.

Zimmer also teaches workshops for Yale science graduate students in science communication.

Selected Books:

Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive. Dutton, 2021.

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Past and Future of Heredity. Dutton, 2018.

A Planet of Viruses. University of Chicago Press. First edition, 2011; second edition 2015; third edition 2021.

Evolution: Making Sense of Life. Macmillan. First edition, 2012; second edition 2015; third edition, 2019. Co-authored with evolutionary biologist Douglas Emlen.

Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life. Pantheon, 2008.

Soul Made Flesh: The Discovery of the Brain and How It Changed the World. Free Press, 2004.

Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature’s Most Dangerous Creatures. Free Press, 2000.

Selected Articles (full archive at

“Ancient Footprints Push Back Date of Human Arrival in the Americas,” The New York Times, September 23, 2021

“The Secret Life of a Coronavirus, The New York Times, February 28, 2021

“Could a Single Vaccine Work Against All Coronaviruses?” The New York Times, Februay 9, 2021

“Nuclear Tests Marked Life on Earth With a Radioactive Spike,” The Atlantic, March 2020

“The Girl Who Turned to Bone,” The Atlantic, July 2013