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New York City
Place of Birth
Long Island, NY
Freeport NY public schools, from grade 1 to 12.
Amherst College, 1961
Harvard Graduate School 1961-62,
Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons 1962-66
Why did you choose to come to Amherst
I thought I'd have small classes and attentive faculty (and that was true).
at the time: Ben DeMott
over the long haul: Bill Pritchard
and favorite CLASS
Most challenging: English 1-2
Most enjoyable: English novel with Ben DeMott
depends on the time of day.
Tips for aspiring writers
If I had some, I'd have written more books.
Tell us about your path to becoming a writer
I've written a lot of scientific papers and a few books about the work I do; this is my first book for a truly general public. Why did I write it? In 2004 I naively signed a contract with WW Norton to give three lectures at the New York Public Library; in dense print was an obligation to turn the lectures into a text. I didn't realize how hard that conversion would be. Four years later, I delivered a manuscript to Norton that had only occasional paragraphs from the lectures. Despite the stresses of writing it, I have gotten a lot of satisfaction from the finished product---enough to think I might do something like it again!