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January 26, 2006 - Image 58

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-01-26

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58

January 26 • 2006

onathan Weiner's first
literary job was for a
Jewish magazine, but'he
won the Pulitzer Prize for a book
about evoligion.
Weiner, former editor of
Moment, received wide recogni-
tion for The Beak of the Finch: A
Story of Evolution in Our Time
(Vintage Books, $14). While the
magazine offers disparate opin-
ions on Jewish topics, the book
presents a scientific exploration
of Darwin's theory in a location
where natural selection appears
to be taking place by the hour.
The book, originally published
in 1995, has been chosen the
subject of Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti
Reads and will be discussed by
the author 7:30-8:30 p.m. Friday,
Jan. 27., in the Morris Lawrence
Jonathan Weiner
Building on the campus of
Washtenaw Community College,
where he will sign copies.
inklings of the theory of evolution,
The program is a community ini-
suggest new ways to approach the
tiative to promote reading and dia-
topic.
logue through the shared experience
"The Beak of the. Finch looks at the
of a common book. A committee of
single greatest idea of the 1900s, the
community representatives, educa-
idea that we are all related in one
tors and students chose the paper-
large evolving tree of life the author
back, which.also is being explored
says. "In the book, I show that you
through educational workshops con- can watch evolution happening now."
ducted by the author.
"I'm going to tell about the great
adventure I had writing The Beak of
Two Loves
the Finch and also the adventures
Weiner, whose mother was a librari-
that followed as I realized how con-
an and whose father was a mathe-
troversial Darwin's ideas still are in
matical physicist, was born in New
our country," says Weiner, 53, who
York City and raised in New Jersey
teaches science journalism at .
and Rhode Island. He spent two
Columbia University in New York
years
of his childhood abroad, living
City.
in Israel and Italy with his family.
"I'm thrilled that Ann Arbor and
Long undecided between becom-
Ypsilanti chose my book. The closest
ing. a writer or a biologist, he ulti-
experience I've had to that was when
mately chose writing shortly after
it was chosen by one of the state uni-
entering Harvard.
versities in California as a book for
"It was only after I graduated and
everyone on campus to read one
.
started
writing about everything
year."
under the sun that I realized very
Weiner's work examines the stud-
gradually that I could put my two
ies of Peter and Rosemary Grant,
interests together and write about
scientists who spent 20 years
science Weiner explains. "There
researching finches on an island in
aren't so many writers who love both
the heart of the Galapagos. Their
writing and science so the road was
findings, where Darwin got his first
wide open, and that's the direction

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