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Ed Yong

Pulitzer Prize winning science staff writer for The Atlantic

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  • About Ed Yong

    Back in 2018, award-winning science writer Ed Yong warned readers about the dangers an infectious disease outbreak would pose to public health in the United States. He had foreseen the country’s fragility in preparing and responding for an epidemic, from the chronic underfunding of healthcare and shortage of medical supplies to President Donald Trump’s inadequacies as a leader. When COVID-19 broke out in the United States in March 2020, Yong projected the repercussions if and when the virus become a national issue. Throughout 2020, he continued his exemplary reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, giving a full account of what went wrong, concluding that “almost everything that went wrong with America’s response to the pandemic was predictable and preventable.” Now, Yong discusses the pandemic’s impacts, resets expectations for the end of COVID-19, and maps out a path forward for the country.

    For his exemplary coverage of the pandemic, Ed Yong has also won the George Polk Award for science reporting; the Victor Cohn Prize for medical-science reporting; the Neil and Susan Sheehan Award for investigative journalism; the John P. McGovern Award from the American Medical Writers Association; and the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for in-depth reporting.

    Ed Yong is also passionate about other areas in science. He is the best-selling author of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us, a groundbreaking, informative, and entertaining examination of the relationship between animals and microbes. His second book, An Immense World, will take a comprehensive look at the fascinating sensory worlds of animals. In addition to The Atlantic, his work has appeared in National Geographic, the New Yorker, Wired, Nature, New Scientist, and Scientific American, among others.

    Contact us about booking Ed Yong for your next event.

  • Speaking Topics

    The Amazing Nature of Animal Senses

    In this engaging lecture based on his upcoming book, An Immense World, Yong takes audiences through the hidden realms of animal senses. With wit and humor learn the amazing ways in which animals perceive aspects of the world to which we are oblivious.

    What Pandemics Teach Us

    The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed significant weaknesses in our ability to deal with infectious diseases. Based on his Pulitzer-Prize winning science reporting Yong explores why the pandemic proved to be so devastating, and what actions must be taken for us to be prepared.

    The Art of Science Journalism

    Speaking from his experience writing before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, Yong explores the core of what it means to be a science journalist, how inseparable science is from the rest of society, and how it is shaped by our culture, our social norms, and our collective decisions.

  • Video

  • Praise for Ed Yong

    Praise for An Immense World

    Ed Yong! What strange sensory power does this man have that he’s able to roam the vast universe of animal science, homing in on the most fascinating discoveries? Every page finds the reader mouthing quiet whoas, as the world she thought she knew opens out into a hundred others, improbable, strange, and fabulous. I don’t know how to put into words the awe I felt while reading this book—for the incredible sensory diversity of our planet, and for Ed Yong’s talents.

    Mary Roach, author of Fuzz and Stiff

    Ed Yong has the collector’s keen eye for the unusual, crossed with the journalist’s nose for how to tell a beguilingly good story. Which is to say, he is the perfect person to take this deep dive into the astonishing parallel universes around us inhabited by other animals. Chasing an understanding of their sensory worlds, Yong shares a gaze with a jumping spider, is oripulated by a manatee, and takes a punch from a mantis shrimp. Though we have noses too blunt to see the world, our eyes are tuned to only a fraction of light, and we can’t sense magnetic or electrical fields, An Immense World gives us the next best thing: appreciation for those who can. Yong expands our world as he lets us see into others’.

    Alexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know

    A cornucopia of wonders about the transcendent modalities by which other animals perceive: snakes with their stereo-olfactory tongues, killer flies with their high-speed vision, knifefishes that electrolocate their prey, and so much more . . . It’s all a fascinating reminder of the humbling truth that most of what happens among life forms on Earth is beyond our ken.

    David Quammen, author of The Tangled Tree

    Praise for I Contain Multitudes

    In I Contain Multitudes, Yong synthesizes literally hundreds and hundreds of papers, but he never overwhelms you with the science. He just keeps imparting one surprising, fascinating insight after the next. I Contain Multitudesis science journalism at its best.

    Bill Gates

    A science journalist’s first book is an excellent, vivid introduction to the all-enveloping realm of our secret sharers.

    New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice

    Offer[s] engrossing-and gross-details about how an invisible world shapes our species…Mr. Yong’s book lives up to its title, containing multitudes of facts presented in graceful, accessible prose….The author wonderfully turns to the humanities again and again to enrich the book’s scientific detail…And he’s funny.

    Wall Street Journal

    Not since de Kruif’s classic, “Microbe Hunters,’’ has this invisible world been brought so vividly to life… Yong’s curiosity and humor made me smile and even laugh out loud, much to my husband’s surprise. By the end of the book his sense of wonder for microbes was, well, infectious.

    Boston Globe

    For a lesser writer, the temptation to oversimplify the science or to sex up unwarranted conclusions might have proved irresistible. Mr Yong expertly avoids these pitfalls…. I Contain Multitudes bowls along wonderfully without it. His hero, Sir David [Attenborough], would surely approve.

    The Economist

    Praise for I Contain Multitudes

    Yong just keeps imparting one surprising, fascinating insight after the next. I Contain Multitudes is science journalism at its best.

    Bill Gates

    Beyond fascinating. An amazing book. It’ll change the way you think about the world. It'll change who you think you are.”

    Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk

    Ed Yong is a talented British science writer...I Contain Multitudes, his first book, covers a huge amount of microscopic territory in clear, strong, often epigrammatic prose… He is infectiously enthusiastic about microbes, and he describes them with verve.

    New York Times Book Review

    The author wonderfully turns to the humanities again and again to enrich the book’s scientific detail... And he’s funny.

    Wall Street Journal

    From his vibrant introduction to the witty endnotes, Yong’s expertise and narration hold no less wonder than a sacred text. Yong’s prose is alive with an almost incredulous pleasure that the field he has loved since childhood is now in vogue.

    Spectator

    Ed Yong’s beautiful, smart, and sometimes shocking new book…

    Wired

    For a lesser writer, the temptation to oversimplify the science or to sex up unwarranted conclusions might have proved irresistible. Mr Yong expertly avoids these pitfalls. No matter. Mr Yong has no need for such hype. I Contain Multitudes bowls along wonderfully without it. His hero, Sir David [Attenborough], would surely approve.

    The Economist

    It is a page-turner in a very old-fashioned sense. All life is here, and death too, and sex and violence, including deviations of which you had never dreamed.

    Guardian

    A delightful, witty book… he does not just tell the stories of microbiomes, he also introduces readers to dozens of the scientists studying them. Their stories and conversations radiate the excitement of unlocking new secrets, putting a human face on the science.

    Science

    Ed Yong is one of our finest young explainers of science-wicked smart, broadly informed, sly, savvy, so illuminating. And this is an encyclopedia of fascinations.

    David Quammen, author of Spillover and Song of the Dodo

    A marvelous book! Ed Yong s brilliant gift for storytelling and precise writing about science converge in I Contain Multitudes to make the invisible and tiny both visible and mighty.

    Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach Trilogy

    Ed Yong has written a riveting account of the microbes that make the world work. I Contain Multitudes will change the way you look at yourself and just about everything else.

    Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

    I Contain Multitudes changes you the way all great science writing does. You become disoriented, looking at the world around you in a new way. With vivid tales and graceful explanations, Ed Yong reveals how the living things we see around us are wildly complex collectives.

    Carl Zimmer, author of Parasite Rex

    Ed Yong has done something beautiful, and unlikely: he’s rendered the unseen world of bacteria thrilling, captivating and highly entertaining. This is a much-needed guide to the hidden kingdom that dominates life on Earth. It cuts through all the hype of microbiomes with a scientifically steady hand, but told with an infectious sense of awe.

    Adam Rutherford, author of Creation

    Yong has captured the essence of this exciting field, expressing the enthusiasm and wonder that the scientific community feels when working with the microbiome.

    Jack Gilbert, University of Chicago
  • Books by Ed Yong

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