Virtual Event: Mary Roach
When Nature Breaks the Law
The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
in conversation with LINDSEY FITZHARRIS
October 5, 2021
5:00 PM ET
Join this virtual event by purchasing a ticket through Eventbrite
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome beloved science writer MARY ROACH for a discussion of her latest book, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law, as well as the new edition of her bestselling classic Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. She will be joined in conversation by acclaimed medical historian LINDSEY FITZHARRIS, author of The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine.
There are two ticket options available for this event.
Admission Ticket - $32.00: Includes one admission link, one hardcover copy of Fuzz, and one bookplate signed by the author. U.S. shipping also included. Books will be shipped to ticket-holders following the event. Please note: we are unable to ship internationally.
Pay-What-You-Can Ticket: Includes one admission link. We suggest a $5 donation to support Harvard Book Store's staff and our virtual event series during these difficult times. Thank you for your support!
What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. These days, as New York Times bestselling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.
Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and "danger tree" faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter’s Square in the early hours before the pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. She taste-tests rat bait, learns how to install a vulture effigy, and gets mugged by a macaque.
Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. When it comes to "problem" wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem―and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.
For two thousand years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They’ve tested France’s first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender confirmation surgery, cadavers have helped make history in their quiet way.
“Delightful―though never disrespectful” (Les Simpson, Time Out New York), Stiff investigates the strange lives of our bodies postmortem and answers the question: What should we do after we die?
Praise for Fuzz
"Hilarious! With Fuzz, Mary Roach again takes us into an unfamiliar scientific realm, in this case the science of managing the conflicts between humans and the natural world—lethal leopards, rampaging elephants, jet-downing birds, even killer trees. It’s an ever-widening conflict zone, but one that Ms. Roach gleefully mines for a multitude of bizarre facts that’ll make you snort coffee through your nose." —Erik Larson, bestselling author of The Splendid and the Vile
"Bestseller Roach sheds light on nature’s malefactors in this often funny, always provocative survey . . . Roach’s writing is wry, full of heart, and loaded with intriguing facts . . . This eminently entertaining outing is another winner from Roach." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for Stiff
“This quirky, funny read offers perspective and insight about life, death and the medical profession. . . . You can close this book with an appreciation of the miracle that the human body really is.” —Tara Parker-Pope, Wall Street Journal
“Gross, educational, and unexpectedly sidesplitting.” —Entertainment Weekly
The Harvard Science Book Talks series is a collaboration between the Harvard University Division of Science, the Harvard Library, and Harvard Book Store. The series features talks by the authors of recently published books on a variety of science-related topics and is open to both the Harvard community and to the general public. Typically, lectures are followed by a book signing with the author and refreshments. Learn more and watch recordings of past talks here.
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