A Virtual Conversation with Dan Levitt, Author of
What’s Gotten Into You: The Story of Your Body’s Atoms, From the Big Bang Through Last Night’s Dinner
Wednesday, March 22 at 7 PM EDT on Zoom
Every one of us contains a billion times more atoms than all the grains of sand in the earth’s deserts. If you weigh 150 pounds, you’ve got enough carbon to make 25 pounds of charcoal, enough salt to fill a saltshaker, enough chlorine to disinfect several backyard swimming pools, and enough iron to forge a 3-inch nail. But how did these elements combine to make us human?
What’s Gotten Into You: The Story of Your Body’s Atoms, From the Big Bang Through Last Night’s Dinner (HarperCollins, January 2023) tells the startling tales of scientific discovery that allow us to trace the epic odysseys of your atoms from the Big Bang to you. Carl Sagan said, “We’re made of star stuff.” What’s Gotten Into You explains how that happened. The book is equally about the journey of our atoms from the beginning of time and the heartbreak, rivalries, and erratic paths that allowed scientists to retrace it.
Dan notes that “all matter—everything around us and within us—has an ultimate birthday: the day the universe was born.” This informative, eye-opening, and eminently readable book is the story of our atoms’ long strange journey from the Big Bang to the creation of stars, through the assembly of Planet Earth, and the formation of life as we know it. It’s also the story of the scientists who made groundbreaking discoveries and unearthed extraordinary insights into the composition of life. Behind their unexpected findings were investigations marked by fierce rivalries, obsession, heartbreak, flashes of insight, and flukes of blind luck. Ultimately they’ve helped us understand the mystery of our existence: how a quadrillion atoms made of particles from the Big Bang now animate each of our cells.
Deborah Blum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Poison Squad, calls What’s Gotten Into You “a story of scientific discovery, history, dazzling egos, quiet courage, and pure unexpected insight. In other words, the best kind of story. Don’t miss it.”
About Dan Levitt
Dan Levitt began his career teaching physics, biology and world history in the Peace Corps in Kenya. After developing exhibits for the Franklin Institute Science Museum, he received an MFA in filmmaking from Temple University.
Dan spent over 25 years writing, producing and directing documentaries for National Geographic, Discovery, Science, History, HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute), and others. The topics of his films included dinosaurs; how Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and Hawking made their greatest discoveries; the archeology of Custer’s Last Stand; scientist’s efforts to uncover the cause of Malaysia’s Nipah virus; and observing finch and lizard evolution in action. He has filmed with Stephen Hawking, Sean B. Carroll, Michio Kaku, and Jack Horner among many others. His work has received numerous awards including two Cine-Golden Eagles, Emmy award nominations, and the coveted Spur Award for script writing from the Western Writers of America.
What’s Gotten Into You: The Story of Your Body’s Atoms, From the Big Bang Through Last Night’s Dinner is his first book.
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Wednesday, March 22, 7 to 8 pm EDT