Laura J. Snyder weaves tales of Victorian-era scientists that have been described as "fit for Masterpiece Theater."

Why you should listen

Laura J. Snyder is a historian and biographer now writing the biography of neurologist Oliver Sacks, for which she received a Public Scholars grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities and was chosen as the first Sloan/Leon Levy Fellow in Scientific Biography. Like her other books it will lie at the interface of science and art, in this case showcasing Sacks as a literary physician and medical storyteller. Her book Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek and the Reinvention of Seeing showed how scientists and artists in the 1600s used the same optical instruments to see the world in a new way. It was called a "Best Book of 2015" by both the auction house Christie's and New Scientist. Her book The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends who Transformed Science and Changed the World, which was a Scientific American Notable Book and a selection of the TED Book Club, pointed to the moment in the 1800s when amateur "natural philosophers" (who were also poets, classicists and artists) became professional "scientists," focusing on four friends who brought about that new scientific revolution -- inadvertently rendering themselves obsolete.

What others say

“A philosopher of science, Snyder writes with the depth of a scholar and the beauty of a novelist.” — ScienceNews , March 26, 2011

Laura Snyder’s TED talk

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