New Book About Blind Scientist

From: Bryan Bashin (
Date: Thu Oct 17 1996 - 09:15:25 PDT

Hello Listers,

I saw the following post from the University of California-Davis press
office and thought many of you would be interested. Enjoy!

--Bryan Bashin

Subject: UC Davis Science, Engineering and Technology NewsTips, 10/1/96

October 1, 1996


On his knees, hands buried in sand and seaweed, UC Davis
geology professor Geerat Vermeij finds a shell. His fingers
move across its surface, feeling the ridges and contours,
searching for clues, finding information unnoticed by the
untrained eye. For Vermeij, his fingers are his eyes.

An internationally known evolutionary biologist and the
world's leading authority on an ancient "arms race" among
mollusks, Vermeij is blind. His new book, "Privileged Hands:
A Scientific Life" (W.H. Freeman, 1996), tells the story of
Vermeij's challenges and triumphs as well as of the science
of evolution. Born with a rare form of glaucoma, Vermeij has
been completely blind since the age of three.

He created opportunities for himself -- overcoming prejudice
and ignorance about the blind -- studying at Princeton and
Yale before embarking on his distinguished career as a
professor and scientist and receiving the MacArthur "genius"
Award. For Vermeij, the study of shells is a window on
larger questions of life, evolution and earth history.

For more information, media should contact Vermeij at (916)
752-2234. Tip by Carol Cruzan Morton, News Service, 752-

        UC Davis News Service, Davis, California
        (916) 752-1930,

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