KEARNEY – There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, Einstein’s genius and why some people can survive nuclear bombs. They allow others, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists.
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 about human history buried in our DNA.
New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean will explore the wonders of DNA during an upcoming event at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He’ll present “The Violinist’s Thumb – And Other Lost Tales of Love, War and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code” as the featured speaker for this year’s Doug Lund DNA Day. The event is scheduled for 4 p.m. April 28 in Copeland Hall Room 142. It’s free and open to the public.
The author of numerous books, including “The Violinist’s Thumb,” “The Icepick Surgeon,” “The Bastard Brigade,” “The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons,” “Caesar’s Last Breath” and “The Disappearing Spoon,” Kean uses funny, strange and poignant stories to enliven science and science history for audiences. His books have won multiple international awards for literary science writing, and his work has been featured on NPR’s “Radiolab,” “All Things Considered” and “Fresh Air.” His podcast, “The Disappearing Spoon,” debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes charts for science podcasts.
Hosted by the UNK Department of Biology, DNA Day was established in 2013 in honor of Doug Lund, who taught genetics for 33 years at Kearney State College/UNK and was instrumental in developing immunology and molecular biology curriculum. He was known for his outstanding teaching ability and his student-friendly personality and outreach.