David Dobbs, an author of four books, writes features, reviews, and essays for The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, National Geographic, Slate, Pacific StandardAeonNature, and other publications. His magazine features are regularly chosen for leading anthologies. The most recent to be selected is “The Social Life of Genes,” a Sept 2013 Pacific Standard cover story chosen by editor Deborah Blum for the The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014; it also won a 2014 AAAS/Kavli Prize for Science Writing.

His memoir of his mother’s secret wartime affair, My Mother’s Lover, a #1 best-selling Kindle Single, was selected by readers of the longform publisher The Atavist as their favorite Atavist publication.

He lives in Vermont, with frequent trips to New York, DC, London, and other points distant. You can find his selected work here; a wider array here, and follow him via Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

His email is david.a.dobbs [at] gmail.com.

13 responses

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  2. David, I’m intrigued by the title of your new book. My line of enquiry is the whole Asteraceae family, including the dandelion. Does you book have anything to do with the work Alan Turing was involved with in the early 1950s?

    My work involves the daily interaction of plants with humans on every level, focusing on the daisy family. Is your choice of orchid and dandelion based on the sheer number of species within these two families?

    When is it being published? Can’t wait to read it.

    Keith Howes

    based in Sydney, Australia but currently in London

    • Keith,

      Thanks for writing. I fear many botanists will be disappointed that I deploy orchids and dandelions almost strictly for their metaphorical value. But dearly hope you’ll like the book anyway. It’s due out in 2015.



      • Greetings, David!
        Happy to see that your “Orchid-Dandelion hypothesis” is so immediately referenced here, since that’s precisely what I want to address. (For some reason, I can’t comment on the December 2009 Atlantic article which I found via a “random walk in link-land”, so coming to you seems the next-best idea 😉 )

        Here’s what I would’ve written there:

        Perhaps this example (the rhesus monkey coup) helps explain some of the profound and often distressing changes that have taken place in our (highly(?)-developed, primarily Western societies’) human interactions in the last several decades?
        As schools, workplaces and neighborhoods have become larger, more diverse, mobile and densely (or distantly) occupied, and more intensely focused, the social bonds that allowed (even expected) relaxed interaction have broken down.
        Many “communities” have greatly exceeded humanity’s Dunbar Number – and so it becomes harder and harder to trust *anybody*.

        I’m not a “student” of anything in particular, rather an eclectic observer (and commenter) on the human condition.

  3. I’m fascinated by this site, and so eagerly awaiting – along with many others- your book and the changes it will bring about.

    I am devoting all of next year to finishing my Opus Daisy, especially the CinemaAsteraceae part: the history of world cinema, 1895 to now, told through the presence of asteraceae in every conceivable type of moving picture, and the significance of the plant/s in each movie from immortal to completely forgotten. Over ten years research has gone into this already.

    Keith, Sydney

  4. Would you accept an email from me regarding neurofeedback? If so, at what email address.

    Alan Bachers

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  6. Hey David, I am doing a report on your article, “Beautiful Brains” and I wanted to know if you had anything to add, like where did you do your research and why did you choose this topic?

    • I chose the topic out of general interest in life stages and behavior, sharpened by the fact I had a teenage son. I did my research by going to conferences, interviewing many researchers and teenagers, and reading piles of papers and books, along with some Shakespeare. It was a great pleasure.

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