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January 26, 2006 - Image 59

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

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

"One Stop Shopping"

We can do it all

I've taken ever since."
After leaving Moment, Weiner
became an editor at The Sciences, the
magazine of the New York Academy
of Sciences. Next came the compan-
ion book to a seven-part public tele-
vision series, Planet Earth.
Completing his own projects has
occupied Weiner for 20 years with
stints teaching at Princeton
University, Rockefeller University

"The vista of
evolution in
action, of evolu-
tion in the flesh,
has enormous
implications for
our sense of
reality, of what
life is, and for
our sense of
power, of what
we can do
with life."

- Jonathan Weiner

and Arizona State University. An
early morning writer, he advises his
students to write in the same time
frame when their perspectives are
fresh and plan on many drafts so
their craft evolves.
"I pick my book topics after falling
in love with stories and a whole con-
stellation of factors that come
together," says Weiner, married to
children's author Deborah Heiligman
(she often writes about science, as
well) and the father of two sons.
"There have to be fascinating people
involved, important ideas and excit-
ing research. Beyond that, somehow
or other I have to feel that the story
is playing my song. Then, I can take
it up and sing, too."
Weiner, currently working on a
book about human longevity, has

other texts on the market.
Time, Love, Memory: A Great
Biologist and His Quest for the
Origins of Behavior (Vintage Books;
$14) serves as a sequel to The Beak
of the Finch and examines the work
of Jewish scientist Seymour Benzer
as he tackles the effects of genes on
personalities. Published in 1999, it
won the National Book Critics Circle
Award.
His Brother's Keeper: A Story from
the Edge of Medicine (HarperCollins;
$26.95), a 2004 New York Times
Notable Book of the Year, relates the
family experiences of two brothers,
one coping with Lou Gehrig's .
Disease and the other running a
research foundation focused on find-
ing treatments and cures for the ill-
ness.

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Science & Spirituality

"I don't think that science and
deep spiritual feeling are mutually
exclusive, but I do think that evolu-
tion and creationism are mutually
exclusive says Weiner, whose Jewish
practices are most in line with
Reconstructionist thinking.
"I find the views that open when
we look over the shoulders of biolo-
gists very moving, inspiring and
spiritually challenging, so I'm often
moved to quote.from Hebrew scrip-
ture when I write about biology. I
hope by doing that I share with the
reader my feeling that science and
spirituality are not enemies."
Weiner, in his quest for accuracy,
makes a point of letting scientists
see his content before publication.
He does not cede editorial control.
"I try to let people know with each
book and story that science isn't
some forbidding world closed to the
rest of us [who are not scientists],"
he says. "Science opens up our lives
and world in ways we couldn't imag-
ine on our own."

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Jonathan Weiner discusses The

Beak of the Finch 7:30-8:30
p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, in the
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4800 Huron River Dr., Ann
Arbor Township.
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January

26 • 2006

59

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