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Photo: Ben Stechschulte. Also hi-res color or b/w

Carl Zimmer writes books, articles, essays, and blog posts in which he reports from the frontiers of biology, where scientists are expanding our understanding of life. Since 2013 he has been a columnist at the New York Times, where his column “Matter” appears each week. He is a popular speaker at universities, medical schools, museums, and festivals, and he is also a frequent on radio programs such as Radiolab and This American Life. In 2016, Zimmer won the Stephen Jay Gould Prize, awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize individuals whose sustained efforts have advanced public understanding of evolutionary science.

Zimmer is the author of twelve books about science. In 2015, the University of Chicago Press published the second edition of his book, A Planet of Viruses, updated with sections on Ebola, MERS, and other viruses that have recently been in the news. Reviewing the book, the Washington Post declared, "Science writer Carl Zimmer accomplishes in a mere 100 pages what other authors struggle to do in 500: He reshapes our understanding of the hidden realities at the core of everyday existence."

Among his other books, Zimmer is the author of Soul Made Flesh, a history of neuroscience. It was named one of the top 100 books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, and dubbed a "tour-de-force" by The Sunday Telegraph. His book Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea was called "as fine a book as one will find on the subject" by Scientific American. Zimmer's other books include At the Water's Edge, a book about major transitions in the history of life; The Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins; and Parasite Rex, which the Los Angeles Times described as "a book capable of changing how we see the world." Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life, was hailed by The Boston Globe as "superb...quietly revolutionary." It was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Science Book Prize. Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and the Huffington Post.

Zimmer is also the author of two widely praised textbooks. In 2009, he published The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution, the first textbook about evolution intended for non-majors. Edward O. Wilson of Harvard called it “excellent for students, the general public, and even other biologists.” Choice named it an academic title of the year. The second edition was published in 2013. Zimmer also co-authored Evolution: Making Sense of Life a textbook for biology majors, with University Montana biologist Doug Emlen. "Their text can only be described as an exciting moment for our field," said Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago. The second edition was published in 2015.

Over the course of his career, he has written hundreds of articles for the New York Times and magazines including National Geographic, Time, Scientific American, Science, and Popular Science. Zimmer began his career at Discover, where he served as a senior editor from 1994 to 1998. Since 2003 he has written a blog called The Loom, which is now hosted by National Geographic. In 2015, Zimmer became a contributing national correspondent for STAT, a publication about health and medicine, where he hosts the “Science Happens” video series.

Zimmer's work has been anthologized in both The Best American Science Writing series and The Best American Science and Nature Writing series. He has won fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He has won the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Journalism Award three times--twice for his work for The New York Times and once for The Loom. His other honors include the Pan-American Health Organization Award for Excellence in International Health Reporting, the American Institute Biological Sciences Media Award, and the Everett Clark Award for science writing. In 2007 he was awarded the National Academies Science Communication Award for "his diverse and consistently interesting coverage of evolution and unexpected biology." In 2011 he was elected to the board of directors of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. In 2015, the National Association of Biology Teachers awarded Zimmer with their Distinguished Service Award.

At Yale University, Zimmer teaches a course on writing about science and the environment. He was also the first Visiting Scholar at the Science, Health, and Environment Reporting Program at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

Zimmer lives in Connecticut with his wife Grace and their children, Charlotte and Veronica.

He is, to his knowledge, the only writer after whom a species of tapeworm has been named.