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David Dobbs

  • Research Associate
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2PublicationsNumber of items in David's My Publications folder on Mendeley.
  • 66Followers


David Dobbs writes features and essays for publications including the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Wired, and Scientific American. Several of his stories have been chosen for leading science anthologies; most recently, his much-discussed feature for the Atlantic, "The Orchid Children," was selected by Jerome Groopman for Ecco/HarperPerennial's Best American Science Writing 2010. He is now writing a book, working title The Orchid and the Dandelion (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) that further explores the hypothesis he brought to light in his Atlantic story: that the genes and traits that underlie some of our most troublesome mental conditions and behaviors also sometimes generate some of our greatest strengths and accomplishments. From a year beginning August 2010, he will based in London researching the book and serving as a senior visiting fellow at City University London's MA science journalism program.   Dobbs is the author of three previous books. Oliver Sacks called Dobbs's Reef Madness (Pantheon, 2005) "brilliantly written, almost unbearably poignant." The Great Gulf: Fishermen, Scientists, and the Struggle to Revive the World's Greatest Fishery (Island Press, 2000) and The Northern Forest, with Richard Ober (Chelsea Green, 1995), both won wide acclaim and notable awards, including the National Association of Science Writers Science-in-Society Award for The Great Gulf. Dobbs blogs on science, medicine, nature, and culture at Neuron Culture ( and lectures frequently to lay audiences, students, and fellow journalists on science (especially neuroscience and behavioral sciences), writing, and the changing world of book writing and journalism. Originally from Texas, he lived most of the 'oughts in Vermont. Beginning August 2010, he will work both sides of the Atlantic while in London, researching the book and serving as a senior visiting fellow at City University London's MA science journalism program.

Recent publications

  • High-performance genetically targetable optical neural silencing by light-driven proton pumps.

    • Chow B
    • Han X
    • Dobry A
    • et al.
    Get full text
  • Who’s conscious? | Pharyngula

    • Myers P

Professional experience

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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