Not long ago, science writer Carl Zimmer spoke at the Zócalo series. He was talking about the subject of his new book, E. Coli, and wove a lovely story of how the E. Coli have taught us so much about life over the years, and how they continue to do so. So much of what we know about the workings of DNA, for example, came down to studies of a very clear model system, and E.Coli was the system chosen by Biologists (and Physicists interested in fundamental issues surrounding the nature of life, DNA, etc.) (Updated attribution: Image above left – click for larger view – is a painting from shardcore. Many more paintings and other art there. Worth looking.)
The talk, for a general audience, is highly informative. It is only about an hour long, and worth your time. It was broadcast last night, and I found it rather good indeed. I recommend it. Here’s the synopsis from the Zócalo site, followed by a link.
New York Times science writer Carl Zimmer visits Zócalo to discuss how an ordinary microbe, E. coli, is revealing the deepest secrets of life itself. Drawing upon themes from his book, Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life, Zimmer discusses how E. coli has played a pivotal role in the history of biology. Illustrating his talk with engaging stories from the annals of science, Zimmer explores how this microbe is leading scientists to a new understanding of what it means to be alive.