Authors Series: Sam Kean, author of The Violinist's Thumb

Authors Series: Sam Kean, author of The Violinist's Thumb

Authors Series: Sam Kean, author of The Violinist's Thumb

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 7:00pm

Independence Mall West
150 N. 6th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

(Please use 7th Street Entrance, seating will begin at 6:45 pm)

Sam Kean discusses his book The Violinist's Thumb followed by an interview with Marty Moss-Coane, host of WHYY's Radio Times.

The Violinist's Thumb

Did the human race almost go extinct?

Can genetics explain a crazy cat lady’s love for felines?

How does DNA lead to people with no fingerprints, or humans born with tails?

And how did the right combination of genes create the exceptionally flexible thumbs and fingers of a truly singular violinist?

Unraveling the genetic code hasn’t always been easy—from its earliest days, genetics has been rife with infighting, backstabbing, and controversial theories—but scientists can now finally read the astounding stories inscribed in our DNA. As we make advances into DNA mapping and modification, genetics will continue to be the hottest topic in science, shaping the very makeup of our bodies and the world around us.

With the same masterful combination of science, history, and culture he brought to The Disappearing Spoon, Sam Kean untangles the secrets of our genetic code, explaining how genetics has shaped our past, and how DNA will determine humankind’s future.

SAM KEAN is a writer in Washington, D.C. He is the author of the New York Times national bestseller The Disappearing Spoon, which was also a runner-up for the Royal Society’s book of the year for 2011. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, and New Scientist, and has been featured on NPR’s Radiolab and All Things Considered.

Listen to Terry Gross interview Sam Kean on Fresh Air.

All Authors Series events are free; however, registration and printed tickets are required to attend the event.

Tickets will be granted in the order which registration is received.

Events generally consist of a talk by the author and a Q&A period with the audience followed by a book signing. Books are sold on-site by Joseph Fox Bookshop.

Seating begins 15 minutes prior to event start time.

Eventbrite - The Wistar Institute’s Authors Series- The Violinist's Thumb, by Sam Kean

Questions about Authors Series events? Please call 215-898-3955 or email

This event is presented in partnership with WHYY.



Past Authors Series Events

Rob Dunn, Ph.D.

The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today, November 8, 2011

Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, April 20, 2011

Arthur Ainsberg and Thea Cooper

BREAKTHROUGH: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle, November 9, 2010

Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, February 16, 2010

Jon Franklin

The Wolf in the Parlor: The Eternal Connection between Humans and Dogs, October 20, 2009

Faye Flam

The Score: How the Quest for Sex Has Shaped the Modern Man, September 16, 2008

Gary Taubes

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease, May 13, 2008

Paul A. Offit, MD

Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases, September 18, 2007

Arthur Allen

VACCINE: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver, May 22, 2007

David Quammen

The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution, September 18, 2006

Nicholas Wade

Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors, May 23, 2006

Joyce E. Chaplin

The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius, April 24, 2006

Philip J. Hilts

Rx for Survival: Why We Must Rise to the Global Health Challenge, November 17, 2005

Paul Offit, MD

The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to the Growing Vaccine Crisis, October 20, 2005

Brian Burrell

Postcards from the Brain Museum: The Improbable Search for Meaning in the Matter of Famous Minds, March 24, 2005

Jeffrey Kluger

Splendid Solution, February 23, 2005

Maryn Mckenna

Beating Back the Devil, November 4, 2004

Stephen S. Hall

Merchants of Immortality: Chasing the Dream of Human Life Extension, May 4, 2004

John M. Barry

The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History, Feb. 19, 2004