Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer's picture
Professor Adjunct of Biophysics and Biochemistry and Lecturer in English

Carl Zimmer is an award-winning science columnist for the New York Times. He is a two-time winner of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Communication Award and a three-time winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences 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.

Along with his articles 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 13 books about science. His latest book is She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity. It was selected by the Guardian as the best science book of the year, and the New York Times Book Review named it a notable book of the year. It 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. 

At Yale, Zimmer teaches “Writing about Science, Medicine, and the Environment,” an undergraduate seminar. He also teaches workshops for Yale science graduate students in science communication.

Selected Books:

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.

Evolution: Making Sense of Life. Macmillan. Third edition, 2019. Co-authored with evolutionary biologist Douglas Emlen.

The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution. Macmillan. First edition, 2009; second edition, 2013.

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.

Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea. HarperCollins, 2001.

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

At the Water’s Edge: Macroevolution and the Transformation of Life. Free Press, 1998.

Selected Articles (full archive at

“Oldest Fossils of Homo Sapiens Found in Morocco, Altering History of Our Species,” The New York Times, June 7, 2017

“To Simulate Climate Change, Scientists Build Miniature Worlds,” The New York Times, May 11, 2017

“Scientists Say Canadian Bacteria Fossils May Be Earth’s Oldest. The New York Times, March 1, 2017

“Most Primate Species Threatened With Extinction, Scientists Find,” The New York Times, January 18, 2017

“Game of Genomes,” STAT, July 11, 2016

“Secrets of the Brain,” National Geographic, February 2014