Resume Reading — Spark of Science: Sean B. Carroll

Close

You've read 1 of 2 free monthly articles. Learn More.

Close
 

Spark of Science: Sean B. Carroll

One biologist’s love for science got kickstarted by snakes.

In his latest book, The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters, Sean B. Carroll tells us the remarkable…By John Steele

In his latest book, The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters, Sean B. Carroll tells us the remarkable story of Robert Paine, who revolutionized ecology by throwing starfish out of tide pools. Paine’s bold experiments revealed predators have an ineluctable impact on every animal and plant in an ecosystem.

If a writer turned the lens on Carroll, a professor of molecular biology and genetics at the University of Wisconsin, and vice president for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, he would have an equally adventurous subject who’s made fantastic contributions to science. Only in Carroll’s case the inspirational animal would not be starfish but snakes.

As a kid, Carroll loved everything about snakes, especially the colors and patterns of their scales. In the animation below, listen to him describe his days catching snakes on the shores of Lake Erie, where his mom drove him and his buddy Tom, and you hear the fascination with the natural world of a born scientist. Don’t miss all our stories about scientists’ inspirations at spark.nautil.us. And please add your own!


The Unintended Beauty of Starlings

Eugene Schieffelin was the eccentric ornithologist who in 1890 shipped 60 starlings from London to New York City and set them free in Central Park. The next year he released 40 more, and today there are maybe 200 million starlings...READ MORE

Join the Discussion