I am a science writer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have spent nearly all of my career writing for the New York Times, both as a staff writer and on contract. I also write books. The latest is "Missing Microbes", the story of how antibiotics are affecting the human microbiome and our children's health. The scientist (and author on the title, Holt, spring 2014)) is Martin Blaser, a wonderful guy and true mensch at NYU. I helped him write it and we are still friends! The book before that was Sleights of Mind— what the neuroscience magic reveals about our everyday deceptions— written with two terrific neuroscientists, Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez Conde. (Pub date Nov 9, 2010, Holt.)
For the past fifteen years, I have specialized in the brain sciences, although I'm prepared to write on any interesting topic that comes my way. I particularly like stories about the environment, earth sciences and all things biological.
As the recipient of a Templeton Journalism Fellowship, I spent several weeks in the summer of 2007 at Cambridge University in England, discussing science and religion. I recently wrote an article on the neurophysiology of spiritual experience. (see articles)
I have received three recent honors -- I am a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and in November 2013 I am the first journalism fellow at the Santa Fe Institute.
For pleasure, I am a cyclist, hiker, skiier and runner. Recent adventures have taken me to Nepal (hiking to Annapurna Base Camp in a snowstorm), to Burma (moutain bike ride across the north), down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon (the paddle boat is most fun) and, in August 2008, trekking in the unbelievably steep Japan Alps. 2009 took me to Italy. In 2010 and 2011 I traveled to Rajasthan India to ride my bike and to South America for some sightseeing and trekking. 2014 includes a bike trip to South Africa.
I grew up in Port Washington, New York, attended Northwestern University for two years and transferred to the University of California at Berkeley where I graduated in 1965 with a major in poltical science. I went into the Peace Corps in 1965, to Sarawak, Borneo, where I lived upriver and taught elementary school. Upon returning in 1967, I was hired at the United Nations bureau of the New York Times as a clerk.. and the rest is history.
I have two adult children, Matt Blakeslee (a fourth generation science writer) and Abi Blakeslee Kelleher (a clinical psychologist)— plus four grandchildren. Matt lives in Santa Fe while Abi now abides in Bozeman, Montana. I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I am currently rifling through the files of my grandfather (Howard W. Blakeslee) who pioneered the field of science reporting in 1928 and my father (Alton L. Blakeslee) who followed Howard at the Associated Press for stories that (in today's terms) amaze, entertain and bedazzle us with their perspicacity, naiveté, and sheer breaking news-ness of times past. I may turn this triaged trove into a blog and then a book, or just put it out for people to enjoy. Stay tuned.