Author Archive | Kirk

Is Nobel Science Noble?

My sixth grade teacher asked us to write a report on a career we were interested in.  I did mine on nuclear physics, and from then on I thought I knew where I was headed in life!  In college, however, two literature courses and an introduction to philosophy changed my mind, and I went on […]

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Review of “Cantor’s Dilemma” by Carl Djerassi

Although Cantor’s Dilemma was published in 1989, my earlier searches for fiction about science never turned up this book or even Djerassi’s name, and I’ve been asking myself why.  Once I started the book six months ago, I couldn’t put it down because for the first time, I felt I was reading about real scientists […]

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The Peculiar Logic of Scientific Knowledge

Understanding the role of negative results is crucial to an intelligent appreciation and application of scientific knowledge.  The amount of mischief caused by the belief that science can “prove” the truth of some statement has been incalculable, as the role of science in public policy has increased in recent decades.  No conclusion drawn from scientific […]

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Review of “The Honest Look” by Jennifer Rohn

In The Honest Look Jennifer Rohn has given life as only a writer can to one of the most important aspects of scientific research and science itself.  For that reason alone it is a significant novel about science.  It is also a very beautiful and touching story laced with poetry and humanity.  Because I only […]

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Names and Websites

When I told people I was starting a blog, nobody asked me why another website on fiction and science was needed.  One reason was probably that none of them knew that there were at least three others.  In fact, few people realized that a new subgenre of literary fiction had emerged, that there were already […]

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Four Short Reviews

As promised, this post contains four one-paragraph reviews of four of my favorite novels on the Lab Lit List (see  I read Intuition and The Gold Bug Variations before I found the List; the other two, after seeing the one-sentence descriptions of them on the List.  You can expect longer reviews of Cantor’s Dilemma […]

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The Lab Lit List

About five months ago, I discovered a website,, that promotes a literary genre called “lab lit.”    I suppose this rather catchy name parallels “chick lit.”   In any case, fiction in this new genre “…depicts realistic scientists as central characters and portrays fairly realistic scientific practice or concepts, typically taking place in a realistic – […]

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Why so little fiction about science?

Since I retired about fifteen years ago, I’ve been reading a lot more fiction than my work as a scientist and teacher permitted.  I’ve read everything from weighty philosophical novels like Milos Kurnera’s  The Unbearable Lightness of Being to popular romance novels like Margaret Mallory’s Knight of Pleasure.  It was fun and some were great books, […]

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