/ Key title 'Dry Store Room No. 1' is an intimate biography of the Natural History Museum, celebrating the eccentric personalities who have peopled it and capturing the wonders of scientific endeavour, academic rigour and imagination. / Richard Fortey is our star popular science author. He combines rigorous professional science with great literary skill / Fortey's previous books have enjoyed worldwide recognition and have been published in several languages. / Both 'The Earth' and 'Life' were shortlisted for the Aventis (Rhone-Poulenc) Prize for Science and 'Trilobite!' was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. / Devoted fans of Fortey's writing include Bill Bryson and Simon Winchester. / Fortey's last book 'The Earth' was a Sunday Times bestseller and has sold over 30,000 copies in the UK alone. It was chosen as a Book of the Year in the Sunday Telegraph and the Economist. / Competition: Matt Ridley, Richard Dawkins, Steve Jones
Richard Fortey retired from his position as senior palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in 2006. He has won both the Lewis Thomas and Michael Faraday medals for his science writing. He was elected President of the Geological Society of London for its bicentennial year in 2007, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Award-winning natural-history writer Fortey (Trilobite!) provides a thoroughly delightful behind-the-scenes look at one of the world's greatest natural history museums. Having spent his entire career as a paleontologist at London's Natural History Museum, Fortey is well positioned to explore all aspects of the institution. With unbridled passion and childlike glee, he wanders about the museum discovering samples collected during the voyages of Captain Cook, specimens studied by Charles Darwin and meteorites that originated on Mars. He also introduces many of the largely unknown specialists responsible for the museum's renown. But Fortey's strength is his ability to explain the importance to society of their arcane research. Indeed, he argues, this research "has never been more important at a time when humans are increasingly degrading the environment: "The great museums may harbour the conscience for the natural world, not merely provide its catalog." Fortey offers a beautiful paean to the collections and articulately makes the case that museums are much more than mere spectacles to entertain and educate the public. 16 pages of color illus., 86 illus. in text. (Aug. 21) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Praise for Richard Fortey's 'The Earth': 'Richard Fortey is without peer among science writers.' Bill Bryson '"The Earth" is a true delight: full of awe-inspiring details!it blends travel, history, reportage and science to create an unforgettable picture of our ancient earth.' Sunday Times Praise for 'The Earth': 'This is not a book for people who like science books. It is a book for people who love books, and life!Fortey has written a wonderful book.' Tim Radford, Guardian 'Read this book because it is, indeed, the best natural history of the first four billion years of life on earth.' John Gribbin, Sunday Times 'Fortey writes beautifully and this is a wonderful biography of rock and life!He has restored palaeontology to its rightful place in the pantheon.' Lewis Wolpert, Observer 'The tale of life needs constant retelling. Thank some happy accident of history that we have Fortey to tell it to us anew.' Ted Nield, New Scientist
Entering a museum, especially a natural history museum, the museum visitor's focus is on the exhibits he or she is interested in that day, perhaps birds or minerals or plants, or the latest blockbuster show. How often does the visitor think of the people who created these collections, whether they are working today, where this bird, rock, or dinosaur came from, if there are more pieces stored away, and exactly what is going on behind those doors closed to the public? Fortey, a former senior paleontologist at London's Natural History Museum and author of Life, Trilobite, and Earth, spent decades working at this famous place and has the greatest respect and fondness for his institution, its history, its collections, and, most of all, his present and past colleagues. Barely dipping into the wealth of personalities and the collections, Fortey instead takes readers behind closed doors to reveal how a museum runs, how collections are built, and how scientists work. He also traces the London museum's history and the present status of scientific discovery and contributions there. He does this with wit and humor, writing in a wonderfully clear style. Readers will never enter a museum again without wanting someone like Fortey to take them behind the scenes. Highly recommended for all collections and required for natural history and history of science collections.--Michael D. Cramer, Schwarz BioSciences, RTP, Raleigh, NC Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.