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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 19, 2008

UI faculty member Mark S. Blumberg reads from 'Freaks of Nature' Dec. 2

University of Iowa psychology faculty member Mark S. Blumberg will read from his new book, "Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us About Development and Evolution," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen live via the University of Iowa Writing University Web site

The event will be recorded for broadcast on Iowa Public Radio's "Live from Prairie Lights" series. Hour-long "Live from Prairie Lights" productions, hosted by WSUI's Julie Englander, air at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays on WSUI-AM 910 in Iowa City and WOI-AM 640 in Ames.

In "Freaks of Nature," Blumberg turns a scientist's eye on the oddities of nature, showing how a subject once relegated to the sideshow can help explain some of the deepest complexities of biology. In taking seriously a subject that has often been shunned as discomfiting and embarrassing, he sheds new light on how individuals -- and entire species -- develop, survive and evolve.

"Everyone seems to have an opinion about 'freaks' and 'monsters,'" Blumberg says, "but few have a true sense of their place in the natural world. I wanted to write a book for the general public that helps us appreciate the common developmental origins of anomalous individuals and species."

Blumberg, a Starch Faculty Fellow, teaches in the psychology department's Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience and Developmental Science training programs. He is also editor-in-chief of Behavioral Neuroscience, a member of the Iowa Center for Developmental and Learning Sciences, and past president of the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology.

He is the author of "Basic Instinct: The Genesis of Behavior" and "Body Heat: Temperature and Life on Earth," and a co-editor of the forthcoming "Oxford Handbook of Developmental Behavioral Neuroscience."

Visit his Web page at

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell),