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"I write books about science and nature. When I was growing up, I wanted to be either a biologist or a writer. At Harvard (Class of ‘76), I chose writing. But soon after I graduated, I found a way to do both, and I have been writing about science ever since."
Jonathan Weiner was born in New York City in 1953. His father is a mathematical physicist at Brown University. His mother is a librarian. Growing up, he spent two years abroad in Italy and Israel. In 1987, he moved from New York City to Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his wife, Deborah Heiligman, a writer of children’s books.
Jonathan Weiner wrote part time, while serving as a senior editor of The Sciences, the magazine of the New York Academy of Sciences. In 1985, he left the magazine to write his first book, the companion volume to the PBS television series Planet Earth. The book’s success enabled him to write full-time. His book, The Beak of the Finch, won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science. Weiner's work is about the controversial subject of behavioral genetics. The project was supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. While writing Time, Love, Memory, he was a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University from 1995-1997. Weiner's latest book, His Brother's Keeper, 2004, is the story of a young entrepreneur who gambles on the risky science of gene therapy to try to save his brother's life. While working on His Brother's Keeper, he was writer-in-residence at Rockefeller University. His Brother's Keeper was chosen by the New York Times as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2004. Weiner currently teaches science writing at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and lives in New York with his wife and their two sons.
Education and Training
B.A. in English and American Literature, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1976
Teachers and Influences
John Pfeiffer, formerly of New Hope, now Newtown, and John Bonner, of Princeton, NJ, have both been mentors.
Connection to Bucks County
In 1987, he moved from New York City to Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his wife, Deborah Heiligman, a writer of children’s books. The family moved from Doylestown to New York City in early 2000.
Colleagues and Affiliations
His Brother's Keeper, 2004
Time, Love, Memory: A Great Biologist and his Quest for the Origins of Behavior, 1999
The Beak of the Finch, 1994
The Next One Hundred Years, 1990
Planet Earth, 1986
Jonathan Weiner has had articles published in the following papers and magazines:
New York Times
The Sciences (a series of essays, Field Notes, from 1981 to 1988, and column of short news pieces, Quanta, from 1981 to 1983)
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism
Writer-in-residence, Rockefeller University
Visiting Fellow, Princeton University, 1995-1997
Science Writing Fellow, Marine Biological Laboratory, 1986
New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2004 for His Brother's Keeper
Pulitzer Prize in General Non-Fiction for The Beak of the Finch, 1995
Los Angeles Book Prize for Science for The Beak of the Finch, 1994
American Geophysical Union’s Annual Award, 1984
ALA Notable Book of the Year for The Beak of the Finch, 1994
New York Times Notable Book of the Year, The Next 100 Years, 1990
Year’s Best Column, Society of National Association Publications: Field Notes, 1988
American Geological Institute Award for Planet Earth, 1986
Year’s Best Column, Society of National Association Publications: Field Notes, 1985
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