Herlinde Koelbl, "Fascination of Science: 60 Encounters with Pioneering Researchers of Our Time" (MIT Press, 2023)


An intimate collection of portraits of internationally renowned scientists and Nobel Prize winners, paired with interviews and personal stories. What makes a brilliant scientist? Who are the people behind the greatest discoveries of our time? Connecting art and science, photographer Herlinde Koelbl seeks the answers in this English translation of the German book Fascination of Science: 60 Encounters with Pioneering Researchers of Our Time (MIT Press, 2023), an indelible collection of portraits of and interviews with sixty pioneering scientists of the twenty-first century. Koelbl’s approach is intimate and accessible, and her highly personal interviews with her subjects reveal the forces (as well as the personal quirks) that motivate the scientists’ work; for example, one wakes up at 3 am because her mind is calm then, another says his best ideas come to him in the shower. These glimpses into the scientists’ lives and thinking add untold texture in this up-to-the-minute survey of the activities and progress that are currently taking place in the broad field of the natural sciences. Koelbl’s interview subjects include Nobel Prize winners Dan Shechtman, Frances Arnold, Carolyn Bertozzi, and cover scientific fields from astronomy, biochemistry, and quantum physics to stem-cell research and AI. Beautifully bringing together art, science, and the written word, Fascination of Science is an inspiring read that shows how creativity, obsession, persistence, and passion drive the pioneering researchers of our time.

Herlinde Koelbl is a German photographic artist, author, and documentary filmmaker.

Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network.

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Caleb Zakarin

Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network.

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