Author Archives: the virtuoso


I’ve had a couple more contributions to Lady Science recently: A blog post about ancient witches, Mark Twain, and eclipses and an article about women botanists, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and poison. It’s always a pleasure to work with Lady Science. And I’m still fiddling with my Frankenstein piece in honor of the novel’s 200th anniversary next […]

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts”

    I’m new to and relatively uninformed in the area of science policy, but as a science enthusiast in a landscape where the very idea of science is under attack, I don’t have much choice but to get involved now, so here I am. On January 26, I listened to a webinar held by […]

Did I Mention the Shaggy Hair?

Anyone else ever notice that in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “The Birth-Mark” (1843), Aylmer’s lab assistant Aminadab is a proto-Igor? “Aminadab! Aminadab!”  shouted Aylmer, stamping violently on the floor. Forthwith there issued from an inner apartment a man of low stature, but bulky frame, with shaggy hair hanging about his visage, which was grimed with the vapors […]

The Eighteenth-Century Lady Scientist

A little while ago I had the privilege of being published in Lady Science, a lovely site run by lovely people. Read my interpretation of a 1706 play about scandalous women, gambling, and science here: The Eighteenth-Century Lady Scientist

Suffragette Circus

Today, a story that has nothing to do with science or literature, but one in honor of Super Tuesday and Women’s History Month: women’s suffrage! Specifically, women’s suffrage in the circus! And no, it’s not about the clowns in the current presidential race. (That comparison is offensive to clowns.) When you think of the circus […]

Does Your Watch Tell You What Year It Is? It’s The 150th Anniversary Of Alice In Wonderland!

A very merry un-un-birthday to Alice in Wonderland: in which I fall down a rabbit hole of museums and end up getting published in The Lewis Carroll Review Alice Is Everywhere This year (26 November, specifically), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland celebrates its 150th anniversary of publication. In the past century and a half, the story behind Alice […]

Oliver Sacks And The Science Narrative

“[Narrative] is present at all times, in all places, in all societies; indeed narrative starts with the very history of mankind; there is not, there has never been anywhere, any people without narrative; all classes, all human groups, have their stories.” — Roland Barthes, “An Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narrative” Though writer and neurologist […]

Fantastic Worlds

Libraries are having a tough time in the digital age. While you can access oceans of digital articles with the click of a mouse (especially if you have a university login), librarians and hard-copy enthusiasts are struggling to negotiate their roles in the Internet era. For better or (mostly) for worse, Google has replaced the […]

The Virtuoso Is on Twitter

Want to click on abbreviated links to fascinating articles about science and literature? Why not follow The Virtuoso on Twitter?

She Blinded Me with Social Science

Recently, British scientist Sir Tim Hunt made an announcement about the “trouble” with women in scientific professions: “You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry.” Because the year is 2015 and not 1965, most people were not happy with Hunt’s assessment. In true Internet form, female scientists […]