Noted science journalist Carl Zimmer to speak at UNCC
Lake Norman News
Lake Norman News ~ News of University City
Friday, Mar. 21, 2014

Noted science journalist Carl Zimmer to speak at UNCC

  • N.C. Science Festival

    UNC Charlotte will host 12 days of events during the 2014 N.C. Science Festival, a statewide celebration of science held March 28-April 13. All events are free and open to the public. For information, visit or for statewide events,

    UNCC guest lecture series

    • “What’s Coming in Genomics?” a panel featuring science journalist Carl Zimmer and UNCC genomic researchers Anthony Fodor, Dennis Livesay and Jessica Schlueter. 3 p.m. March 28, EPIC Building G256, UNCC.

    • “You are Thousands of Species: Discovering the Life Within You,” public lecture by science journalist Carl Zimmer. 8 p.m. March 28, UNCC Center City Building auditorium. Public reception and book-signing afterward.

    • “How NASA Designed its Moon Mission,” public lecture by science historian Amy Shira Teitel. 7 p.m. April 2, EPIC G256, UNCC.

    UNCC Science Festival faculty lecture series

    All faculty lectures held in Bioinformatics Building Room 105, UNCC.

    • “Tangible Creativity,” Mary Lou Maher, UNCC Department of Software and Information Systems. 7 p.m. April 1.

    • “Juice it Up! The Earth-Abundant Approach to Converting Sunlight into Usable Energy,” Michael Walter, assistant professor of chemistry. 7 p.m. April 3.

    • “Architectural Agriculture: Science, Technology, and Mathematics in Sustainable Communities,” Thomas Gentry, associate professor, School of Architecture. 7 p.m. April 8.

    • “Defending Science Education in the Tar Heel State,” Ian Binns, assistant professor of education, 7 p.m. April 10.

    UNCC Science Film Series and expert panel discussion

    “Contagion,” 7 p.m. March 29, UNCC Center City Building auditorium.

    “The Invisible Man,” 3 p.m. March 30, UNCC Center City Building auditorium.

    “Jurassic Park,” 3 p.m. April 6, EPIC G256, UNCC.

    “Chasing Ice,” 7 p.m. April 9, EPIC G256, UNCC.

    N.C. Science Festival Star Party

    8 p.m. April 4, UNCC Observatory.

    UNCC Science and Technology Expo

    10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 13, Union Mall, UNCC.

When UNC Charlotte’s N.C. Science Festival committee began scouting for guest lecturers who could ignite a spark in the public to the wonders of modern science, it looked no farther than Carl Zimmer.

Zimmer, a science journalist who has written 10 books on topics ranging from the marvels of E. coli bacteria to the mysteries of the brain, has gained respect over the years for bringing science to the masses, especially through “Matter,” his weekly New York Times column that covers contemporary science topics in easy-to-digest articles.

His book, “Parasite Rex,” influenced one reader to become a parasitologist and to thank him by naming a species of tapeworm after him.

“Acanthobothrium zimmeri,” Zimmer said with a chuckle. “It’s fun to have a tiny slice of immortality that way.”

Zimmer will be a guest speaker at UNCC as part of the university’s events during the N.C. Science Festival, a 2 1/2-week statewide celebration of science and technology.

Activities at UNCC include a series of lectures and films, and cap off with the university’s Science and Technology Expo, a hands-on event that lets the public in on a wide array of experiments.

During his visit to Charlotte, Zimmer will discuss advances in genomic technology that have cut costs by billions, making research more affordable and increasing the likelihood of cutting-edge advances in future medical treatments.

For those who want to get their creep on, he’ll also discuss organisms living on and inside humans.

“It’s a real zoo in our bodies. We have viruses. We have bacteria. We have fungi. We have other kinds of life floating in us,” he said. “And this is when we’re totally healthy.”

Zimmer hopes to unlock the kind of scientific curiosity in others that has served him so well.

“Life is a lot more interesting when you learn about how it works,” he said.

Lisa Thornton is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more