George Johnson (writer)

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George Johnson
George Johnson Santa Fe.jpg
Born (1952-01-20) January 20, 1952 (age 65)
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Education M.A. in Journalism and Public Affairs, American University (1979)
B.A. in Journalism with a minor in English, University of New Mexico (1975)
Occupation Science writer, journalist
Notable credit(s) Writer for The New York Times; author of several books
Relatives Dr. J.E. Johnson (father) & Dorris Matthews Johnson (mother)

George Johnson (born January 20, 1952) is an American journalist and science writer.[1] He is the author of nine books, including The Cancer Chronicles (2013), The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments (2008) and Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in 20th-Century Physics (1999), and writes for a number of publications, including The New York Times. He is a two-time winner of the science journalism award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His books have been short-listed three times for the Royal Society science book prize. His column, "Raw Data," appears in The New York Times.[2]

Johnson is one of the co-hosts (with science writer John Horgan) of "Science Faction," a weekly discussion on the website, related to topics in science. Several prominent scientists, philosophers, and bloggers have been interviewed for the site.

Colbert Report[edit]

On Thursday, May 7, 2008, Johnson appeared on the Stephen Colbert show to promote his new book, entitled "The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments". During his appearance, Johnson convinced Colbert to touch the spark produced by one of the electricity experiments. Colbert shocked his hand yelling obscenities that were bleeped out but appeared to be fine after the incident.[3]


Johnson & John Horgan on a "Science Saturday" episode of
  • The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery. Knopf, 2013.
  • The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments. Knopf, 2008.
  • Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe. James Atlas Books/Norton, 2005, about Henrietta Leavitt
  • A Shortcut Through Time: The Path to the Quantum Computer. Knopf, 2003.
  • Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in 20th-Century Physics. Knopf, 1999. Vintage paperback, 2000, about Murray Gell-Mann
  • Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order. Knopf, 1995. Vintage paperback, 1996.
  • In the Palaces of Memory: How We Build the Worlds Inside Our Heads. Knopf, 1991. Vintage paperback, 1992.
  • Machinery of the Mind: Inside the New Science of Artificial Intelligence. Times Books, 1986. Tempus / Microsoft paperback, 1987.
  • Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics. Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin, 1984.


His ninth book The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery was on the shortlist for the 2014 Royal Society Prize for Science Books.[4]

Previously shortlisted for the prize were Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in 20th-Century Physics (2001)[5] and Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order (1997).[6]

In 2014 three of his pieces for The New York Times about the science of cancer won the AAAS Science Journalism Award.[7] He won the award in 2000 for three articles about complexity and high-energy physics.


External links[edit]