In the Company of Giants

nobel-1 That's me in the center--and I am standing to my full 6-foot height. I was more than happy to be outflanked (and decidedly outranked!) by my two companions: the 2006 Nobel Prize winners in Physics and in Physiology/ Medicine: John Mather (Chief Scientist at NASA) on the left and Craig Mello on the right.

Craig had invited me to attend a special program that he and John were offering at the Library of Congress: "On the Origins of Life and the Universe". Even though Connie and I were in Scottsdale, Arizona at the time, how could I say no? I flew to Washington, D.C.--and boy, am I glad that I did!

There was so much interest in this event that people were turned away at the door and ushered into two overflow rooms with viewing screens. John's program was “From the Big Bang to the Nobel Prize.” Craig spoke on “Life on a Cosmic Scale: From the Primordial Soup to a Nobel Prize-Winning Worm.” Afterward, I joined Craig and his family for dinner and conversation at his family farm north of the city.

All this -- and yet I was unknown to Craig until just a month before his invitation. You see, I had brazenly sent more than two dozen Nobel laureates personalnobel-2 invitations to take a look at a pre-publication galley of my forthcoming book, Thank God for Evolution! Craig Mello and John Mather were among five who not only requested a preview copy but volunteered written endorsements in time to appear on or in the book.

Thanks, too, to Lou Niznik and Sam Rosen - friends in the D.C. area who volunteered to photograph me in such extraordinary company.