Past Meetup

"The Violinist's Thumb" at the Decatur Book Festival

This Meetup is past

39 people went

The Courtyard By Marriott

130 Clairemont Avenue · Decatur, GA

How to find us

This talk will be in Ballroom A.

Location image of event venue


The Atlanta Science Tavern is pleased to sponsor Sam Kean as a featured author in our Science Track at this year's AJC Decatur Book Festival (

Sam will be introduced by Arthur Lewis, former principal viola of the Santa Fé Opera, Baltimore Symphony, and Nashville Symphony; and violist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Concerts Colonne Orchestra (Paris). Art has taught at Illinois State University, Emory and the Aspen Festival.

Sam Kean
The Violinist's Thumb: and Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by our Genetic Code

Did the human race almost go extinct? Can genetics explain a crazy cat lady’s love for felines? How does DNA lead to people with no fingerprints, or humans born with tails? And how did the right combination of genes create the exceptionally flexible thumbs and fingers of a truly singular violinist?

Unraveling the genetic code hasn’t always been easy—from its earliest days, genetics has been rife with infighting, backstabbing, and controversial theories—but scientists can now finally read the astounding stories inscribed in our DNA. As we make advances into DNA mapping and modification, genetics will continue to be the hottest topic in science, shaping the very makeup of our bodies and the world around us.

With the same masterful combination of science, history, and culture he brought to The Disappearing Spoon, Sam Kean untangles the secrets of our genetic code, explaining how genetics has shaped our past, and how DNA will determine humankind’s future.

Sam Kean ( spent years collecting mercury from broken thermometers as a kid, and now he’s a writer in Washington, D.C. His stories have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, Smithsonian Air & Space, and The New Scientist, among other places, and his work has been featured on “Radiolab” and NPR’s “All Things Considered,” among other shows. He has worked on fellowships in the United States and Europe, and was the national runner-up in the National Association of Science Writer’s award for best young science writer. The Disappearing Spoon, his first book, was a national bestseller, was named an Amazon “Top 10″ science book, and was nominated by the Royal Society for one of the top science books of 2010.