Mary Roach

Mary Roach is an American author, Specializing in popular science and humor . [1] As of 2016 , she has published seven books ,: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003), Ghost: Science Tackles the Afterlife (2005) (published in some markets as Six Feet Over: Adventures in the Afterlife ) , Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (2008), Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (2010), My Planet: Finding Humor in the oddest Places , Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (2013) en Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (2016).

Roach is noted for re curiosity and humor in addition under to re research. [2] Her many humor-laced articles in verschillende publications over the decades include re monthly humor column, “My Planet” in Reader’s Digest .

Early life and education

Mary Roach was born in Hanover, New Hampshire , to a 65-year-old Father. [3] Her family later moved to Mount Etna, New Hampshire , where Roach attended Hanover High School .

She RECEIVED a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wesleyan University in 1981.


After college, Roach moved to San Francisco , California , and spent a few years working as a freelance copy editor . She worked as a columnist, and ook worked in public relations for a letter time. Her writing career Began while working part-time at the San Francisco Zoological Society, Producing press releases on topics zoals Wart surgery on elephants. On re days off from the SFZS, she wrote freelance articles for the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine . [4]

In 1986, she sold a humor piece about the IRS to the San Francisco Chronicle. That piece led to a number of humorous, first-person essays and feature articles for industry leaders publications as Vogue , GQ , The New York Times Magazine , Discover Magazine , National Geographic , Outside Magazine , and Wired . [5] [6] She has written articles ook for and tech gadget reviews for .

From 1996 to 2005, Roach was part of “the Grotto,” a San Francisco-based project and community or working writers and filmmakers. It was in this community dat Roach got the push she needed to break JSON book writing. [7] While being interviewed by Alex C. Telander or BookBanter, Roach Answered the question of how she got started on re first book:

A few of us everytime year [from the Grotto] mention anything make predictions for other people, where they ‘ll be in a year. So someone made the prediction therein, Mary will harbor a book contract. ” I forgot about it and als October cameramen around I thought, I Have three months to pull together a book proposal and harbor a book contract. This is what In English one lit the fire under my butt. [8]

Hoewel de Roach writes primarily about science, she never intended to make it re career. Roach stated in an interview with, als Asked what Exactly got re hooked on writing about science, “To be honest, it turned out dat science stories ulcers always, consistently, the must interesting stories I was Assigned to cover. I didn ‘t plan it like this, and I do not have a formal background in science, or ANY education in science journalism. Actually I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology. ” [9]

TV and radio shows port repeatedly Asked Roach ACM Press as a guest so They could hear re opinions. She has Appeared on programs like Coast to Coast AM , [10] The Daily Show , [11] and The Colbert Report . [12] Roach has had monthly columns in Reader’s Digest ( “My Planet”) and Sports Illustrated for Women ( “The Slightly Wider World of Sports”). [5]

Besides being a best-selling author, Roach was involved in many other projects. Roach reviews books for The New York Times, and was the guest editor of the Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 edition. She’ll be Serves as a member of the Mars Institute ‘s Advisory Board, as an ambassador for Mars One [13] and was Recently Asked to join the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary . [14]


While it is clear dat Roach has a wide variety of what some call Might unusual interests, it is a fact dat she is ook willing to become a part of re research-when the subject calls for it. Roach volunteered herself and re husband in an ultrasound coital imaging experiment to study the effects of Cuddling. [15] [16] While Researching material for re book Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex , Roach cameramen across Dr. Jing Deng, a University College London Medical School senior Lecturer in medical physics . Dr. Deng was Experimenting with 4-Dultrasound imaging and in need of test subjects to engage in sexual intercourse while wearing the ultrasound equipment so dat real-time images Could be Captured. [17] Roach and re husband, Ed, ulcers the first participants to volunteer in this study. When Asked how she was loveable to convince re husband to participate, Roach zegt, “He’s crazy supportive. It was much harder for im. It was nothing for me. I was just a receptacle. I was just taking notes.” [18]

To study the reproductive effect of sexual arousal in pigs, Roach ventured to the Øeslevgaard Farm in Denmark to observe pig inseminators as they ‘conducted experimental techniques to see if there was a positive correlation tussen stimulation and quantity of offspring. [16] While working with sensory scientist Sue Langstoff, Roach studied bear taste-testing methods-used in Detecting impurities in quality, zoals picking up on unpleasant smells one Might find if the bear-making equipment ulcers cleaned with chlorinated water. [19] She has’ll be consulted throughout physiologist, Dr. Andries van der Bilt, to analyseren the complex ability of the human jaw to break down food and protect the mouth while chewing. [20]

In 1997 she visited Antarctica to write an article for Discover Magazine on Meteorite hunting with Meteorite hunter Ralph Harvey. [21] [22] She has been there’ll be a few times as part of the National Science Foundation ‘s Polar Programme, welke beheerd the funding for research and operations support in the Arctic and the Antarctic . [23] On one or prosthesis breaks, Roach accompanied a team of marine sediment experts on the research vessel, Nathaniel B. Palmer , in order to collect core samples from the Depths of the ocean off Antarctica in order to learn more about global warming . [24]

Writing styles

While Roach does not possess a science degree, she attempts to take complex ideas and turn Them JSON something therein the average reader kan understatement position. She takes the reader with re through the steps or re research, from learning about the materials to getting to know the people who study it, if she DESCRIBED in a public dialogue with Adam Savage . [25]

The common theme Throughout musts or Roach’s books is a literary treatment of the human body . Roach says or re publication history, “My books are all [about the human body], Specter is a little bit or departure Because it’s more about the soul Rather dan the Flesh and blood body, but must if my books are about human bodies in unusual circumstances. ” [26] When Asked by Peter Sagal of NPR , how she picks re topics, she replied, “Well, it’s got to have a nice little science, it’s got to have a nice little history, a little humor and something gross.” [27] For example, re article entitled “The C are: Dead man driving” was published in the Journal of Clinical Anatomy , and Asks why cadavers are Considered to be dishonored if they ‘are being used to test Explosives or crash testing. [28] [29]

Volgens to Roach, “Make no mistake, good science writing is medicine. It is a cure for ignorance and fallacy . Good science writing peels away the blindness, accrue wonder, and Brings the open palm to the Forehead,” Oh! Now I get it! ‘ ” [30] Regarding re skepticism about the world around re, Roach states in her book Ghost

“Flawed as it is, science scope for the must solid god I’ve got. And so I’ve decided to turn to it, to see what it had to say on the topic of life after death. Because I know what religion says, and it perplexes me. it does not deliver a single, consistent, scientifically sensible or provable scenario. Science seemed the better bet. ” [31]

Roach has zegt dat she’s always bone interested in science, specifiek topics Relating to space and space travel Itself; welke is why the decision to write Packing for Mars was not a random adventure dat Roach decided to embark on. “I had no idea until I started this book dat als you’re heading to the moon or to Mars, you’re Essentially coasting. I thought it was like a car where you’d have your foot on the gas the entire time, and I used to think, ‘Jesus, that’s a lot of gas. ” ” [32] By the end of re book, she was loveable to vividly DESCRIBE and do under state loveable, the many nitty-gritty details therein mention anything normally be overlooked. She does this by addressing and answering the more practical-and technical questions therein an audience member nov port, zoals, how the Astronauts go to the bathroom, eat, and drag, as well as, question the effects of zero gravity on the bodies of the space travelers. [33]

In an interview with DJ Grothe , Roach DESCRIBED an aspect of how she arrives at re book subjects: “I mention anything say it has more to do with my own sort of quirky set of interests and sense of curiosity Rather dan feeling some obligation to address things therein are not well enough addressed. ” [34]

Personal life

Roach maintains an office in downtown Oakland and lives in the Glenview neighborhood of Oakland (California) with re husband Ed Rachles, an illustrator and graphic designer. [35] Roach ook has two step-daughters.

While Roach has of or in bone quoted saying dat she does not have much free time tussen writing books, she was very fond of backpacking and travel. She has bone loveable to do a great deal of the Latter, while doing research for re articles and books. Roach has visited all seven continents at least Twice. [36]

Awards and recognition

In 1995, Roach’s article “How to Win at Germ Warfare” [37] was a National Magazine Award Finalist. [38] In the article, Roach conducted an interview with microbiologist Chuck Gerba of the University of Arizona who DESCRIBED a scientific study in welke bacteria and virus Particles Become aerosolized upon flushing a toilet, “Upon flushing, as many as 28,000 virus Particles and 660,000 bacteria [are] jettisoned from the bowl. ” [37]

In 1996, re article on earthquake -proof bamboo houses, “The Bamboo Solution”, [39] took the American Engineering Societies Engineering Journalism Award in the general interest magazine category. In her article, civil engineer Jules Janssen remarked dat bamboo is “stronger dan wood, brick, and concrete … A short, straight column or bamboo with a top surface area of 10 square centimeters Could support an 11,000-pound elephant.” [39]

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers was a New York Times Bestseller , a 2003 Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” pick, and one or Entertainment Weekly ‘s “Best Books of 2003.” Stiff ook won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2003, was voted as a Borders Original Voices book, and was the winner of the Elle Reader’s Prize. [40] The book has translated leg JSON at least 17 languages, zoals Hungarian (Hullamerev) and Lithuanian (Negyvėliai). [5] Stiff was ook selected for the Washington State University Common Reading Program in 2008-09. [41]

Roach’s column “My Planet” ( Reader’s Digest ) was runner-up in the humor category of the 2005 National Press Club awards. [4] [5] Roach’s second book, Ghost: Science Tackles the Afterlife , was the recipient of the Elle Reader’s Prize in October 2005. Specter was ook listed as a New York Times Notable Books pick in 2005, as well as a New York Times Bestseller. In 2008, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex , was Chosen as the New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, it was The Boston Globe Top 5 Science Books, and it was listed as a bestseller in verschillende other publications. [42]

In 2011, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void , was Chosen as the book of the year for the seventh annual ” One City One Book : San Francisco Reads” literary event program. [43] Packing for Mars was ook sixth on the New York Times Best Seller list. [44]

In 2012, Roach was the recipient of the Harvard Secular Society’s Rushdie Award [45] for re outstanding lifetime achievement in cultural humanism . The association year, she RECEIVED a Special Citation in scientific inquiry from Maximum Fun .

Her book Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (Oneworld) was on the shortlist for the 2014 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books . [46]


Year title Publisher subject matter
2003 Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers WW Norton & Company Cadavers
2005 Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife WW Norton & Company Afterlife
2008 Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex WW Norton & Company Human sexuality , Sexology
2010 Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void WW Norton & Company Interplanetary spaceflight , Life support system
2010 The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 (editor) Mariner Books
2013 Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal WW Norton & Company Human gastrointestinal tract
2013 My Planet: Finding Humor in the oddest Places Penguin Publishing
2016 Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War WW Norton & Company Military science


  1. Jump up^ Mary Roach. “Mary Roach” . .
  2. Jump up^ “Bookslut” . .
  3. Jump up^ “Mary Roach, Author or Packing for Mars, Stiff, Spook and Bonk” . .
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b Roach, Mary. “About Mary” . Retrieved 21 July 2012 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Roach, Mary. “Mary Roach” . KQED. p. KQED Arts . Retrieved 21 July 2012 .
  6. Jump up^ Roach, Mary (2006-01-18). “Ghost” . The Writers’ Block . NPR . KQED-FM .
  7. Jump up^ “Past Members” . The Grotto. Archived fromthe originalon 12 August 2016.
  8. Jump up^ Alex C. Telander (1 May 2009). “Episode 7: Mary Roach”. Audio Interviews (MP3) . BookBanter. Event occurs at 4:45 . Retrieved 12 August 2016 .
  9. Jump up^ Drummond, Katie (2013-04-17). “Science writer Mary Roach: ‘Everything I learn is pretty shocking and weird ‘ ‘ . The Verge .
  10. Jump up^ “Mary Roach” . Coast to Coast AM .
  11. Jump up^ “Mary Roach on Gulp ” . The Daily Show . 2013-04-01.
  12. Jump up^ “Mary Roach” . The Colbert Report . Season 1 Episode 15 November 9, 2005.
  13. Jump up^ “Mary Roach” . Mars One .
  14. Jump up^ Roach, Mary (28 June 2012). “Mary Roach” . Twitter . Retrieved 5 July 2012 .
  15. Jump up^ Roach, Mary (2016-05-31). “Session with Mary Roach” (Online Q & A Session). Quora.
  16. ^ Jump up to:a b Maslin, Janet (2008-04-07). “A Sex Researcher Walks Into a Lab, and Then Things Start to Get Comical” . Books of the Times . The New York Times . Retrieved 2013-11-13 .
  17. Jump up^ “Sex Research, the Video” . Slate . 2010-02-23. Archived from the original on 2013-05-22.
  18. Jump up^ Murphy, Joel (24 Apr 2008). “Getting to Know Mary Roach” . HoboTrashcan.
  19. Jump up^ Shepard, Kim. “Mary Roach’s not-so-serious study of the piehole in Gulp ” . Kiro FM . Retrieved 13 November 2013 .
  20. Jump up^ Roach, Mary (2013-03-26). “The Marvels in Your Mouth” . Health . The New York Times . Retrieved 2014-04-28 .
  21. Jump up^ Roach, Mary (May 1997). “Meteorite Hunters” . Discover .
  22. Jump up^ Lipschultz, Michael. “Meteorite Studies: Terrestrial and extraterrestrial applications, 1997” (PDF) . Antarctic Journal . Retrieved 22 July 2012 .
  23. Jump up^ Falkner, Kelly. “About Polar Programs” . National Science Foundation . Directorate for Geosciences . Retrieved 11 March 2016 .
  24. Jump up^ Roach, Mary; Braasch, Gary. “Antarctica’s Hot Spot” . Discover Magazine . Discover Magazine . Retrieved 11 March 2016 .
  25. Jump up^ Savage, Adam . “Mary Roach in Conversation with Adam Savage” . San Francisco Public Library . SFPL . Retrieved 30 July 2012 .
  26. Jump up^ McCarthy, Robynn Swoopy (24 August 2010). “Packing for Mars” (Audio). Skepticality . Skeptic . Retrieved 30 July 2012 .
  27. Jump up^ Siegal, Peter (18 September 2010). “Science Writer Mary Roach Plays Not My Job” (Audio / Transcript) . NPR Radio . NPR . Retrieved 30 July 2012 .
  28. Jump up^ Roach, Mary (October 2010). “The C Word: Dead Man Driving”. Clinical Anatomy . Wiley-Liss. doi : 10.1002 / ca.21056 .
  29. Jump up^ Roach, Mary. “About Mary” . Retrieved 5 July 2012 .
  30. Jump up^ Doughty, Bill (4 February 2012). “Critical Thinking Curious: Mary Roach”(Muse) . Navy Reads Blog . Retrieved 30 July 2012 .
  31. Jump up^ Roach, Mary (17 September 2005). Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (1st ed.). WW Norton and Company. ISBN  0-393-05962-6 .
  32. Jump up^ The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (June 2011). “Interview: Mary Roach” . Lightspeed .
  33. Jump up^ Silver, Drew. ” ” Packing for Mars: Mary Roach’s take on life in the void ” . Seattle times.
  34. Jump up^ Grothe, DJ (10 Apr 2009). “Mary Roach – Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex” . Point of Inquiry . Retrieved 25 May 2016 .
  35. Jump up^ Lundell Garver, Beth (23 February 2011). “The Curious Charm of a Writer’s Path” . Retrieved 5 July 2012 .
  36. Jump up^ Birnbaum, Robert (1 February 2011). “Mary Roach” (Audio / Transcription) . The Morning News . Retrieved 30 July 2012 .
  37. ^ Jump up to:a b Roach, Mary. “How to Win at Germ Warfare” (PDF) . slhspapbio . Retrieved 22 July 2012 .
  38. Jump up^ “Health” . MPA – the Association of Magazine Media . Retrieved 2014-04-22 .
  39. ^ Jump up to:a b Roach, Mary (June 1996). “The Bamboo Solution” (Magazine) . Discover Magazine . Retrieved 22 July 2012 .
  40. Jump up^ Roach, Mary. “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” . Retrieved 21 July 2012 .
  41. Jump up^ Pullman (12 September 2008). “Common Reading Program welcomes author Mary Roach” . SSU News . Retrieved 22 July 2012 .
  42. Jump up^ Roach, Mary. “Ghost: Science Tackles the Afterlife” . Retrieved 21 July 2012 .
  43. Jump up^ “One City One Book 2011” . San Francisco Public Library. 2011 . Retrieved 5 July 2012 .
  44. Jump up^ Roach, Mary. “Packing for Mars” . Retrieved 21 July 2012 .
  45. Jump up^ Chandonnet, Sarah (29 March 2012). “Author Mary Roach to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award” . Humanist Community Project At Harvard . . Retrieved 29 July 2012 .
  46. Jump up^ Melissa Hogenboom (10 November 2014). “Materials book profit Royal Society Winton Prize” . BBC . Retrieved 11 November 2014 .